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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

   “You -- with all your doubts and fears, joys and sorrows -- are enough. You -- the one reading these words at this very moment -- have everything you need to become the writer you want to be.
   'Me?' you may be asking. 'Just as I am?'
   Yes, you, who may, at this moment, be feeling scared, frustrated, blocked, discouraged. If so, join the club.    Because so does every other writer in the world, even the most successful ones, who, after all, were once struggling writers themselves.
   And now that they're successful, guess what? They still struggle. They have the same doubts, fears, longings, worries. They just don't give these feelings the same negative meanings you do. Smart writers recognize their feelings as important information about their inner lives, as the raw material of their writing craft. Just grist for the mill.” —Dennis Palumbo

It may seem that I’m continually on the same writing bandwagon, waving the flag about priorities and daily writing. Rather than a bandwagon, I would challenge you to consider it as the foundation of being a writer. Everything else will follow once you are able to clarify your priorities, and once those priorities include writing on a daily basis. Notice I said “daily basis” without specifying a minimum amount of time. Although the more time spent writing the better, I believe it’s more important to write every day than it is to write reams every day.

Successful writers also deal with time management issues, families, housework, holidays, company, persistent pets, illness . . . . The main difference is that writing is one of their top priorities. They treat writing as a job. A commitment. They set a time, put on their game face, punch the clock, sit down, and work. Of course the amount of time they spend producing words is also an important factor, but once your butt is in the chair and you’re writing, increasing that time isn’t as difficult.

If you are unable to rearrange your priorities to spend lots of time writing, commit to writing for small increments – every single day. Do you brush your teeth every day, even when you’re tired, even when you have company, or it’s a holiday, or you’re on vacation? Consider writing to be at that same level. Five minutes. If you don’t have a project you’re working on, or are having trouble figuring out what to write for those five minutes, use writing prompts. Pick one, set the timer, and forget everything else for five minutes. When you are able to set writing as a priority, you will already have a habit established and an open pathway to your writing.

"Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it - in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance."—John C. Maxwell


Nicole Maggi said...

This, and the 1" picture frame concept, is one of the most-used tool in my tool kit. Sometimes when you're going insane and feeling overwhelmed, returning to the 1" frame can make you sane again.

Barb said...

I still have the 1" picture frame sitting on my writing desk to remind me to narrow my focus. It sometimes takes a lot of effort to quiet my mind and focus on a tiny detail, but once I do, I'm almost always successful at getting words on the page.