Friday, September 13, 2013

Making Yourself Write (Podcast #2)

OR -

I received a lovely email from a gentleman who found FundsforWriters and fell in love with what it represents. Those emails make my day, I'm telling ya. But after he stroked me a bit and complimented the site, he dove into his concerns...concerns I hear often from readers. He wasn't alone though I imagine he felt he was.

In general, he thinks about writing all the time. It even keeps him awake at night. But he dabbles, with no two days of writing alike. He sees the cursor, starts writing, then it never comes together like he likes. So he gets up and cleans the house. When he does go back, he researches how to write better, reading all sorts of advise, paralyzed by fear to actually write. Then he puts it off to another day. He edits as he writes, having spent six hours on a 500-word blog post. He's thinking of giving up writing altogether.

We all have our problems with writing. I hate first drafts of anything, because editing is what breathes life into a piece, in my opinion. I hate anything pulling me from my daily routine, because then it's hard to get back into it. Every writer has negatives and aspects of the profession he hates. Following is my response to him. If you've felt frustration lately, I hope it resonates with you.

I hear you, fella. I hear this from lots of folks. But the power is simply in your hands, not on a website (even as much as I love you reading mine). I tell people at conferences to write daily, without fail, starting with 15 minutes each day. After 90 days, you'll be hooked. Do NOT let yourself venture online until you have performed your daily ritual. Soon you'll have an itch to write daily, and you won't want to stop at 15 minutes. That's how I started.

And hey, I edit as I write. I don't care what others say about free-writing and not editing as you go. It's how I write. It's served me well. I adore editing. I profess that editing makes the story, creates the voice, makes the story pop. Of course I edit many times after the first draft, but I hate writing crap, so I edit somewhat as I go. Nothing wrong with that. However, you have to face the fact that if you write like that, you will write slower. It's simply a law of physics.

Nobody is going to save you from yourself. It has to be something you want. Try my above exercise daily and then decide at the end of 90 days whether it's what you want to do. There's nothing wrong with thinking about writing all the time. Heck, I do the same thing. But it does matter whether you sit before the computer and make it come to fruition. Publishing will not happen fast, and you cannot develop your voice "thinking" about writing. That comes with lots of practice and failure. So accept the fact your early writing will always need work and will read amateurish and raw. Time takes care of that, but only if you use it wisely and write. Thinking never replaces the doing.

So go forth and write.

There isn't a pill. There isn't a magic website or all-encompassing how-to book. It's a two-step forward and one step back process. If you don't like tripping over your feet for a while, often a long while, then don't write. But I can't begin to describe the joy of seeing all that work make it to print.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Hope--Your advice about beginning with just 15 minutes is so right. Just like our leg or arm muscles, we have to work our writing muscles so they start to develop and firm up and become--at some point--well-defined.

(Oops, I had better not talk too much about nonexistent muscle tone, or I will have to wander off and start exercising ;)

Marylane Wade Koch said...

Excellent encouragement through speaking the truth in love. I posted a link on our Write Life Workshops FB. We all need to hear this. Thanks always! Marylane

Marylane Wade Koch said...

PS Love the pic with sweet puppy. I always enjoy your photos.

Thanks again, Marylane

Hope Clark said...

Sioux and Marylane

Thanks to you both. Basic advice but such we often forget. And I like that pic, too! Roo has such expressive eyes.

Audrey said...

You're right're so right. Now, I need to follow your words and not just read them.

Thanks for always prodding us when we need to be prodded!

Audrey said...

PS...I would still love to find that magic pill!!

Jordan Clary said...

I wholeheartedly agree! You didn't mention whether the writing was computer or long hand, but I find it really helps me write my rough drafts in long hand. I don't know why. I just seem to 'get' at things, characters will tell me things they won't on the computer. I also really agree you get to where something is missing if you don't write every day — even when you're a procrastinator like I am. When I finally get going on my quota done for the day, it's usually hard to stop.

Hope Clark said...

When is someone going to prod me! LOL But we all need prodding. Just got back from a 10-day trip and I'm so out of sync. I wrote two and a half chapters while out, but still, I'm off balance trying to get back to it. It's easy to skip!

Unknown said...

I think all writers, no matter how experienced or famous, need to hear this from time to time! The perfect cure for writer's block: just write! :)