Do you have tough writing days? Maybe the page blankly stares back at you, or you’re just not in the mood and don’t try? I certainly have those days. My friend Jessica does not have many. Here’s what I have learned from her: She maintains a schedule amidst family distractions. She starts her day reading responses to her blogs and twitter accounts. Then she answers and writes new ones for that day. She has more than one project in the works, even if the second one is not a priority. She says that writing first thing in the morning “primes the pump,“ so to speak. I resist the scheduling and know it would be the best habit to make. Okay, so what’s the matter, missy?
A couple of years ago I wrote during the NaNoWriMo and did discipline myself to write 1600 words daily. If I had a day planned that didn’t allow for writing for one reason or another, I wrote more words prior to that date. Truly, not every page was a keeper, but just writing consistently produced my muse. When I reread those pages, I am surprised how my voice emerged. Why am I resisting now?
I finished a researched true story of my grandmother’s courage during the 1918 Cloquet-Moose Lake fire in northeastern Minnesota. After discovering that most of my cousins and their children had never heard about how she had saved herself and 3 young daughters, I was compelled to write and share it with family. The research slowed me down, but after finding a wonderful resource, I was on my way. The narrative nonfiction was mailed on Monday. Hurray, now back to overcoming resistance.
My project of several years is a novel based on a true story. (Don’t ask me the difference between that and narrative nonfiction. Since the agents I met at a conference last August disagreed in equal proportion, I’m not going there. I don’t know.) But what slowed me down has been the myriad searches about WWII, Lipizzan horses, the countryside of Hungary, and Hungary’s history. Blah Blah Blah. I have most of what I need to go on. My husband and I visited Hungary last spring. But I write inconsistently and not as a job or passion. The “stuck” days are about the things Jessica does that I am NOT doing.
I will be more successful if I adopt her habits. But the biggest gift Jessica has taught me is that she will be there for me. Not only is she modeling good practice, but she props me up when I am down and encourages me at every turn. After reading something I have written and shared with her, she applauds as well as critiques. I hope you have someone like her to aid your journey.
I would love to hear about your process.
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