I've been writing since Saturday and I haven't missed a day. The words are flowing, and life is good. But, as I look back at my self-imposed writing hiatus I've realized a few things:
- There is no magic formula to writing a good book. I think I've always known this, but I researched it to be sure. Yeah, it doesn't exist. The best advice I found was: read a lot and write a ton.
- I had placed restrictions and expectations on myself, that in essence were stifling my own creativity. Writing a book is hard enough, I didn't need to make it more difficult.
- It's ok to write crappy first drafts. It's ok to write problematic second drafts. It's ok to write flawed third drafts. I've heard authors and agents say this many times in the past. But, I never accepted it myself. I needed to make my writing shine so I would edit as I wrote. There were some days I would edit so much that I wouldn't write. No wonder I had so many project stall outs. I've finally accepted that it's more important to just get the darn thing written, mistakes and all, rather than to dampen my creative momentum (a term I'm stealing from K.L. Going). As long as you learn from each draft and make the next one better--that's all that matters. Oh, and have fun while you're at it.
- I used to think the only way I could finish a polished version of my book was if I could find undisturbed blocks of time where my mind could function at its peak creative performance. I was wrong. And after reading the the excerpt below from Stephen King's On Writing, I've completely changed my game plan. I write here and there. Maybe it's a fifteen minute block or a four hour block. It doesn't matter. I'm writing. I'm enjoying it and I'm slowly progressing towards a finished manuscript.
In truth, I've found that any day's routine interruptions and distractions don't much hurt a work in progress and may actually help in some ways. It is after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster's shell that makes the pearl; not pearl-making seminars with other oysters. ~Stephen King
- I might need to cut back on blogging. At the start of the year, I told myself that I was going to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For the most part I stuck with it. But, since my time is limited (as is everyone else's) I need to use some of my blogging time to write. I love the comments, networking, and visiting other blogs, but at the end of the day having a completed manuscript is going to mean more to me that sticking to my three-posts-a-week blog schedule. This is an example of the self-imposed restrictions I was talking about earlier.
P.S. Go Steelers!!