Writing Every Day

If you believe I do that (easily), I’ve got a huge piece of commercial property on the east side of Detroit I would love to gift you. But, it’s not enough to tell yourself that every day (I do), you have to follow through with actual words. On a piece of paper (or computer, but I find the paper and pen/pencil more compelling). The words have to make some sort of sense, so that you can string them together later to make a much bigger sort of sense.

I’m a world class procrastinator. We all know that. There are stories in my head bursting to get out. In addition to the art form, I have tons of Things to Do with regard to the business end of writing. Getting my publishing company started. (Look, Mom, I finally have a logo – after a year! Now on to the purchase of ISBN numbers. Wonder how long that will take?) Writing blog posts (which used to come so easily, now feeling like a molar extraction). Writing my newsletter (I have failed – temporarily – miserably!). Social media. (For the unsociable, a true hurdle.) Getting the web site(s) fixed up. Editing the two novels and one proposed book of poetry/shorts. (I know. I should have been finished so long ago!)

Of course, there are Real Life distractions. Many Real Life distractions, some of which hold promise, and others I should discard. Big, life-changing ones, like planning for retirement. (Promise.) Teeny-tiny ones, like Words With Friends. (Discard!) Snow. (It’s snowing today.) People calling in sick when it’s snowing. (What can you do? In my case, you tell the sick one to stay home and YOU take over.)

Writing every day takes a great amount of will power, the kind to say NO to distractions.  (Example: I’m trying to work on this while the phone is ringing. A challenge.) This is very difficult to do, especially if you’re like me and your eyes follow every shiny object that comes into view. You must tell yourself “NO” and commit to filling a page, even though some days you’re at a loss for words.

This year, I bought a Hobonichi Techo Cousin, which is a fancy Japanese planner/calendar. The pages are graphed, which I prefer better than lined. I use a graphed Moleskine too. The Hobonichi is a bit smaller, but the grid boxes are smaller too. I find myself adjusting my writing to fit into the boxes. These are shiny facts that have no value in this paragraph, but the point is that I try to fill out a page every day. If I miss a day, I use the next to fill the pages and catch up.

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Another way to stay on the writing track is to commit to classes. I’m a great proponent of online classes. I’m so busy, I can barely fit in my jewelry class on Tuesday mornings. Online classes are nice, not just because you don’t have to get out of your PJs and brave the snow and cold, but also because you can work around your schedule. You’ll want to choose an online class with some interaction, and homework. I’m currently taking Michelle Richmond’s short story class. I think I’m not so good at short stories, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve also taken classes with authors who mostly write fantasy, or prescriptive non-fiction, or romance.

Classes are all about honing what you know, or learning something new. If you think you know it all and have no need, you’re wrong. You can always learn something. Classes mean deadlines too; if you have homework niggling at the back of your head, you’re more likely to take writing seriously. I’ve gotten so many good, fresh ideas from taking classes

The last year and a half were so difficult for me in the write-life. It was hard to find my motivation, and even if I managed to whip some mojo up, the results were half-hearted and half-assed. It is now the middle of March and I can say truthfully that this year’s efforts are far stronger than last year’s. (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m making a valiant effort to write one blog post a week.)

And now, for a non-writing moment, I will leave you my heart.

Good luck my writer friends, and keep writing!

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