Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Some Things I've Learned About Writing

It has been 4 weeks since the writer's conference, and I've got to say, I feel better than I have in years. For the first time since high school--maybe even junior high--I feel like a writer. I am a writer.

Here's some things I've learned about writing in the last 4 weeks or so.

1. You can write in 5-minute increments. With multiple interruptions.

2. The best way through writer's block is to write. If you keep writing, eventually things will start coming together and happening.

3. Writing has to be a priority in your life, or it's not going to happen.

4. You need confidence in yourself...the confidence to tell others "I am a writer" and to value your writing time and find it important enough to guard.

5. A word goal is key to success.

6. Stick with your word goal NO MATTER WHAT.

7. Pick a specific time of day you want to write and try to stick with it.

8. Outlining first helps. A lot.

9. The internet is a distraction while writing, not research.

10. It's okay to leave blanks that you will go back and fill in later.

11. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time.

12. It's okay to turn off your inner editor.

13. Time really is made, not found.

14. You can cut a lot of unnecessary crap out of your day if you just try.

15. As long as my kids are happy, my scriptures are read, and everyone is full, everything else can wait until my word goal is met.

My personal word goal is 2,000 words a day, and 10,000 words a week. Write or Die has been key in helping me meet those goals. I have gotten faster, and it now takes me about 40 minutes to write my 2k words. I write during my twins' morning nap, somewhere between 10 am - 1 pm. During my writing time I don't look at texts, answer the phone, or get online. In 22 days I have written just over 40k words. And I've gotta say, I'm proud of myself. If I, a mother of 9 month old twins, can find time to write, I think anyone can. Because two crawling babies pretty much define the word "busy."

Write now I'm smack in the middle of my WIP. This is the part of the book where traditionally I give up and stop writing. I feel somewhat bored with the project at the minute. Writing my 2k words a day has been painful this week. I'm not sure what needs to happen to get to the climax and how to keep everything interesting. But I still write my 2k words, every day, whether I want to or not. Last night that meant writing at 9 pm at night, when my brain was mush and my writing even worse. But that's what editing's for. Today I feel like I'm on the brink of a breakthrough. Things will get better soon, and I will finish this WIP. Not just the first draft. Not just a first edit. I will finish it, query it. Maybe even get it published.

It feels great to do something for myself every day. Those 40 minutes are all mine, free of distractions. For 40 minutes every day, I get to lose myself in a world I've created. Laundry does not invade, cleaning does not interrupt. (Okay, sometimes a whimpering baby does, but usually not.) And I think that those 40 minutes make me a better mom. Because when the boys wake up from their nap, I am ready to play. I am ready to focus on them. Because I've already focused on me and filled that need I have.

Writing is more than just a desire I have. It's a need. It's something I have to do. And for the first time in a long time, I'm doing it.

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