Good morning to all the writers in the world (or, at least, in my tiny corner of the blogosphere). Today is a sunny, beautiful day to get up and make things happen! Or, write a post while in bed…
Since Monday, I have committed myself to doing the things I listed less often, though their draw still lingers. Pressing snooze, for one. Though I pushed it less today than yesterday, I still kept delaying pulling the covers off.
But it’s all a process, and if I can still write decently while propped up on a dozen pillows, that’s good enough for me. And today, as promised, I will list the things I’ve been doing and want to keep doing to help my writing life. So, without further ado, here they are:
- Read in my Genre. I’ve always loved reading crime mysteries, but for the last few years I’ve fallen off from them. Recently, I realized a lot of my novel ideas are crime mysteries, and I had nothing to compare my work to. I’ve started picking up a few of those books, including two that I will review at the end of the month. I want to keep reading in that genre so I can see how the greats and not-so-greats craft their stories, and how I in turn can learn and improve.
- Have a Plan. Every Sunday this year, I’ve sat down with pens, highlighters, and my planner to map out my writing schedule for the week. Additionally, at the beginning of the month I map out my blog posts, so I’m not caught on a Monday or Wednesday without any kind of ideas. Sometimes I follow the plan; sometimes I diverge; sometimes I do nothing but watch Netflix and read and have to shamefully document that in the end of week notes. But having the plan written out, where I can refer to it and reflect on it at the end of the seven days helps with my accountability. Heck, it’s kept me on track with A Writer’s Life For Me for most of this year.
- Write on the Go. This goes hand in hand with Monday’s point, about not writing solely by a routine. When I look back at my day, I can pinpoint several moments when I’m honestly just doing absolutely nothing – riding passenger in a car, waiting for food to cook, even waiting in a long line at a store. These are moments I can steal to write even just a hundred words, and by the end of the day they could add up to a thousand if I have enough free time. I have Google Docs on my phone, which is what I use to write (and if you don’t use Docs, I highly recommend it, especially if you forget to save your work like I do). There’s nothing in the writer’s handbook that says we have to be sitting down at a table or desk with our notebooks and laptops in order to create something beautiful.
- Observe the World. There’s a great, big beautiful world out there. So many colors and shapes and people. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of a place, our own tiny corner of the world, and not experience all that life has to offer. But life is what gives us our stories; I’m a firm believer in write what you know, and I want to know so much. I want to go for more long runs (or, let’s face it, brisk walks) in places I’ve never been. I want to visit new towns and cities, and note the layout of the streets for future settings. I want to meet people who inspire heroines and antagonists, hear conversations that sound like perfect dialogue, and I want to live life to the fullest. They say you should either live a life worth writing about or write about a life worth living; I plan on doing both.
- Finish. Again, this goes hand in hand with “Changing My Mind About Projects” from Monday, but it needs to be said again: I need to finish things. Since January, I’ve only “finished” blog posts, and I had planned on finishing a novel first draft and essay final draft by the end of March (outcome forthcoming). I just… have to buckle down and do it. Stop doubting my ideas. Stop flipping channels in my brain trying to find something better on when what I’ve got is pretty great. Writers with the writing lives I want finish the projects they set for themselves, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Just like there are always pitfalls in writing, there are also mountains we can stand on top of. We climb that mountain with the things we want to do more often, and we skid down when we fall into the traps of the devils we want to do less often. I’m not going to beat myself up when I fall for the devils, but I will celebrate the mountains. This has been an okay week, writing-wise, but it’s only Wednesday, and I am determined to make it to Sunday with something good to reflect on.