You’ve heard variations on the quote, “Writers write.” But have you ever thought about how it applies to you?
I’ve thought of this a good bit recently.
When I signed my new contract with Love Inspired (yay!!), I wrote my first deadline on the calendar. Then I backed up and chose the date I wanted to have my first draft finished, leaving time for critique and polishing. Next I figured out how many work days I had—taking into account vacation, moving my son to college, a trip I’m chaperoning with my daughter’s high school, etc. I divided out the number of words left in the manuscript and came up with an easily do-able daily word count. So when I went on vacation, I decided to take time off (except for checking in on blogs a bit).
But then I got back, and had a million things to do for my son’s college orientation followed by my daughter's school starting. Between doctor and dentist and vet appointments, I didn’t get right back to work. Though I was still on target on my calendar and in good shape for my deadline, days passed where I didn’t write. I was getting frustrated. Feeling depressed. It was affecting my mood and how I felt in general. (Okay, I'll just go ahead and admit I was crabby and impatient...and in a funk.)
When I finally sat down to get back to work on my story, I immediately felt as if a cloud had lifted. All it had taken to feel like myself again was for me to plant myself at the keyboard and just do it.
Even if you don’t have contracted deadlines yet, you may at some time have been affected by missed writing days. I suspect I’m not the only one who feels a blue funk when she doesn’t write.
Pitfalls of Not Writing
--We get out of the habit.
Writing is definitely a habit. Not writing is also a habit.
--We begin to make excuses.
All it takes is a day or two of telling ourselves Oh, it’s okay. I’ll start again tomorrow. And then before we know it, a week has passed. It’s a slippery slope.
--We begin to think we need uninterrupted blocks of time. I can’t start today, I’ll only be home for an hour. Don’t fall for this trap. Those huge blocks of time almost never happen.
--We lose motivation.
Working regularly leads to excitement about the story. Each day is a new adventure. Being away from the story leads to a loss of that excitement. And then it’s more difficult to get motivated.
--Depression breeds depression (it’s a cycle)…and if we have a deadline, getting behind can lead to panic, which can hinder writing (a whole new cycle).
It just takes one little step to the keyboard to turn it all around.
|Look at the happy camper! This is still my favorite place to write. Except for maybe at the beach. :)|
Tips to Remember
--Writing is for our well-being.
If we’re created to write, then writing is essential for our mental, emotional and spiritual health. Writing is our creative outlet, a blessing from God. Thinking of it in this positive light can go a long way toward motivating us!
--Daily writing keeps the story alive.
Keeping the story fresh in our minds makes starting the next day easier. Any time we’re away from the story, it can be tough to get going again. Much easier to keep at it!
--Being consistent helps meet deadlines.
Whether contracted or self-imposed, deadlines should be a part of our writing career. Writing daily is the best way to assure that we meet those deadlines.
--Habit is everything.
And good habits are much better than bad habits. Create a good habit—a routine—that works well for you. (For example, I usually take Sundays off.)
--Consistent, daily writing (which I mentioned keeps the story fresh) allows for beautiful surprises to pop into your writing.
These are characters, themes, symbols…things we haven’t even planned. Surprises that make our stories richer. I love when these serendipitous moments happen, these kernels of ideas that have been brewing in our subconscious. Showing up at the page brings opportunity.
So I guess my questions for you today are these: Do you feel called to write? Do you feel God created you to write? Have you struggled to write regularly and felt the frustration, depression or angst when you’ve been away from the keyboard? If so, I hope this post has been helpful. Just jump in and establish good writing habits. I promise, you won’t regret it.
While we’re chatting… I’m offering a giveaway for a phone chat (in U.S.A.) to help motivate YOU! Or if you're already a highly motivated writer, I'll be glad to chat about a topic of your choice. Be sure to let me know if you want to be entered!