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If You’re Not Forcing Yourself to Write, You Should Be

Look, good girl writer getting the words down

Confession: I spent a ton of time not writing this summer. Here are the reasons in no particular order.

1. I didn’t feel like it.
2. I had something more fun to do (camp, hike, play at the pool with the kids, hang with friends.)
3. I was in the middle of a really good book I was reading.
4. I was tired.
5. The kids wanted one thing after another and every sentence started with, “Mom…”
6. I didn’t feel like it.
7. I was watching 8 consecutive hours of HOARDING: BURIED ALIVE or THE BACHELOR PAD
8. I needed to do a lot of pre-writing work (fact checking, research, etc, etc) and I was busy (please refer to items 1-7)
9. I was too busy “building my platform”on Twitter and Facebook by posting glib responses to other Tweets and posts.
10. I didn’t feel like it.

This is not the way books get written. This is the way books are discussed, pondered, stressed over, forgotten, and put on the back burner. Folks, this summer for me is the unsightly BEFORE picture that should scare you straight into a regiment of healthy writing habits. If I had continued on this terrible path my deadline date would come and go and I would be hiding behind a mountain of excuses that all boiled down to one specific truth:

I DID NOT FORCE MYSELF TO WRITE

It wouldn’t have taken much. A weeks worth of consecutive days where writing occurred everyday would have been enough to set a habit OF writing in motion. Instead, I continued the habit of NOT writing.

Now I’m not saying I didn’t write at all. I still managed to knock out about 12,000 words towards Day of the Dead and added another 5,000 towards Midheaven (the 2nd book in the Ascendant series) but these flabby numbers are an embarrassment when considered against the 90++ days available to me that were not occupied by day job obligations.

What’s left to say?
I’m on the right track now? –Yes.
I’m writing everyday now? –Yes.
Should I have done more to make myself write when I had tons and tons of opportunity to do so?

Absolutely.    

16 Responses to If You’re Not Forcing Yourself to Write, You Should Be

  1. Summer is tough for me too! Kids home and at night I’m more exhausted. I can usually squeeze in a couple hours in the morning, but that’s about it. I have to lower my expectations! 🙂

    • I know! There’s just too many fun things to do outside to be cooped up in front of my computer all day.

      Still…I should have made more effort. Thanks for stopping by Laura!

  2. Oh well, sometimes you just need a break. Hoarders can be engrossing. Dual Survivor is another good one. Also, Extreme Couponing. Good luck!

    • Kirsten, If you ever harbored good will towards me, please do not entice me into writerly destruction by giving me MORE procrastination ideas. You’re like a TV show femme fatale! 🙂

      Just kidding, I’m really my own master of self destruction (I just like to try and blame other people.)

  3. Jess says:

    And now that you’re back from the conference, I bet you’re super ready to write!!

    • Jess, You are soooo right. Luckily today is also my day off work so I have already blown my daily goal out of the water (it feels so good to say that!) But I’m wondering how on earth we never connected at the conference??!!! I would love to hear how it went for you. Did you pitch? If so, how was that? (maybe off line for privacy? Email me if you feel like chatting and comparing notes. rebecca@rrtaylor.com )

  4. Suzie F. says:

    I could have written this post. Really. Except I would’ve added getting my oldest ready and moving him to college and my #7 would’ve have included House Hunters (seriously, how many episodes have they made?), Storage Wars, and American Pickers. I am now on a strict diet of healthy doses of daily writing. Good luck with yours!

    • Hi Suzy! Son off to college?? That qualifies as a major life change–what a huge adjustment for you. I like American Pickers too, but I only catch it once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Jennine G. says:

    Have you been stalking me? Seriously, I could’ve posted this. I actually just sent myself an email at work reminding me to use my free periods there to write! Sad, but I’m hoping because that’s a 5-day schedule it will help me maintain daily writing times! The hard part for me is writing despite my lack of ideas at that moment and just writing without editing as I go! It’s doing me in! Thanks for this kick in the butt.

    • Umm, confession: that was me hunched down behind the potted fern. 🙂 Because of this post and the replies, I’m actually considering doing a short blog series on “writer productivity” as in, behavioral techniques for increasing your output….hmmm. Must think more on this.

  6. What a great epiphany for you. A few day vacation can be good though.

  7. My summer was a bit like that too. I had some great weeks where I managed to write/revise, play and get projects done around the house, and then there were weeks when I was in the “I don’t feel like it” mood. Sometimes I think we need to give ourselves permission for a break, and sometimes we just need to push . . .

    • It’s a little like eating chocolate for me. Sure, I deserve to have a piece or two and having a little bit won’t hurt anything. But then, next thing I know the entire bag of bite size Reece’s is gone and I’m surrounded by incriminating gold foiled wrappers and a tsunami size post sugar nose dive.

      There was much more “permission to break” and a lot less “push” this summer.

      Oh well, moving on.

  8. One Six and Ten are my favorite 🙂 Now I feel like I need a schedule.


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