So the other night I was feeling the effects of a long day, filled with parenting (which can be a full-time gig btw), and my online job. For those of you who spend your days in front of a screen, you know what I’m talking about. After so-many-hours of screen time, the words get fuzzy and our brains don’t want to think. Sometimes I just crave PAPER, so I journal, jot down notes or pick up my copy of Pride & Prejudice.
All this aside, I was doggone tired enough that I put my computer away early. I was determined to give myself a night off from writing, so I could read. Everything was lovely and perfection, from the book to the Irish tea. Then ten o’clock rolled around. The itch started.
I glanced over at my laptop. And I don’t care how crazy this sounds, but I heard my characters talking. I saw their scenes playing out in my head. I looked at the clock and thought, “why aren’t I writing? I should be writing.”
I abandoned the book and got down to writing more Angel Blue.
Now, eccentricities aside, the truth hit me after I logged of (yes I keep a writing log) and shut down for the night.
That itch I talked about, the urge and the story shouting in my head? It went beyond inspiration. This wasn’t about creativity inasmuch as it was about routine.
The first time I heard anything about creating a writing routine, was from Susan Dennard, author of Truthwitch and all-around lovely person. She has a two-fold gig going. One, she writes lovely books, like Something Strange and Deadly. She also devotes an entire portion of her site to how-to’s for writers. When I first studied the business of being a writer, beginning early 2017, I spent hours on her “for writers” page. One thing she talks about constantly is the importance of training your brain. I’m not great at science, so I won’t get techy with you about this. Suffice to say, there are studies made by “them,” the science people, that our bodies respond to routine.
Writing is something you should be doing every day if you’re serious about it. Even on those days when you’d rather close the screen, you should at least journal, grab a pen and get to work. Dennard also talks about picking a time of day, or times, and sticking to them. Because eventually, no matter how stuck you are in your story, you’re stuck with a writing habit. Last year I did marvelously at creating my writing habit. I kept to my log, I wrote every day. My wordcount began to climb. It was a win-win. The more I wrote consistently, the better write I became, the easier it was to barrel through the tougher parts of my novel.
When I started working on Silver Hollow in earnest, earlier this year, I struggled with some major writer’s anxiety. I was half-convinced that I couldn’t pull it off. Well, obviously I did, I’m happy to say.
Looking back on this year so far, I think a big part of my problem with Silver Hollow wasn’t the endless rewrites. It was the fact I didn’t have a solid routine. I procrastinated the crap out of writing, then would binge write in bulk (like my infamous 10K in 1 day). While I would love to write 10K every day, it’s not realistic with a job and a family. Plus, you know, chores and exercise and all the little things in-between.
So I had finished Silver Hollow finally right at the beginning of April. It was much longer than I had anticipated. It was so much better than I thought it would be. I’m immensely proud and consider it a milestone in my career. But I also have taken some hard looks at what I did/didn’t do. Writing 10K in one day, showed me I am capable of much more than I had believed.
I already had a draft of what I’m now calling Angel Blue. It’s actually the fifth draft of a story I’ve been working on and off on almost ten years. So I’ve been rewriting it, updating everything and practicing a different style of writing. I knew I needed a routine. So I picked up my bootstraps, started logging in and out, journaling about it, and researching for inspiration. I’ve started out small, a few hundred words here or there some days, then a couple thousand on good days.
Tonight reminded me of all this, the importance of routine. If I hadn’t sat down to write tonight, I may have lost the right tone I was seeking for a specific scene, or the right words I needed them to speak. And yeah, I could always binge on a writing day. But what about today? What are you doing today? Are you using the same excuse I have in the past? Are you afraid of failing to meet your own expectations or of others? Let’s talk shop in the comments below!
Goals for this Week
Finish Angel Blue, then do revisions.
Life stuff – super busy can’t even go into here lol