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Behind the Scenes of a Novel-Day 9

Updated on September 11, 2012

Nothing written

empty pages
empty pages

No Excuses

We all have days when we don't write. Yesterday was my day. I was up early, yet still managed to put off writing before I left for the University. I had an early meeting with another professor to see why I couldn't get the computerized grade book to take my grades. It made for a longer day than I had planned.

Sometimes my best writing happens late at night. Last night was not one of those nights. I did not even open the file and read through it much less write anything. There is no excuse. It was just a lost writing day.

Is Your Writing Like Your Lover?

I heard a speaker at a conference one year. She said often we treat our writing like a lover or mistress. We know it will be there when we are ready to write. It never complains when it doesn't get our full attention. It never gives us reproach for neglecting it.

Some writers start something then put it away and don't come back to it for weeks, months, even years. A mistress or lover would not put up with that. They'd be gone to greener pastures. I vowed I was not going to treat my writing that way. However, I find I do on occasion fall into that trap. I desert my writing sometimes for days. Not usually months. No longer for years, but sometimes for days. I always mean to write daily. Life has a way of getting in the way of writing.

Part of the reason behind this series of hubs is to keep me on task and not let me lapse or desert my writing. It is a secondary motivation for me. I can tell you about my progress, frustration, excitement and I keep working on the novel. I can tell you what I do about writer's block, bad scenes, and wacky things my characters want to do. All the while I am making progress toward the end of my novel. It's a learning curve for me.

How much do I tell you? How much do I keep to myself? How do I explain some of my frustrations so they don't sound like I'm whining? Most of all how do I make my hubs worthwhile reading?

Those are some of the things I face daily. Not just getting words on paper for my novel. Writing is just what I do. I have dreams, thousands of ideas, and goals I want to achieve in my personal, private, and public life. I am not a static person. Wanting to make the college classes meaningful for my students is high on my list of things to accomplish. I have a group which is quite happy to settle for lectures. I don't want to lecture. I want them actively involved in their learning. It means more to them then. I have a group I've only met with twice. I don't know them as well. I want my books known outside my circle of friends and family. I am picking up a following. I am networking with other writers. I do have interviews and book signings coming up. What I don't want it to have all these outside variables take away from what I most love to do and which is WRITE.

Blocking Outside Distractions

Keeping out the noise
Keeping out the noise

Keeping Out Distractions

Make an appointment with yourself to write. Put it on your calendar if you need to. Do it every day. Turn off the TV, walk away from your family. Find a quiet place. Music is okay if you don't find yourself singing along. Sit yourself in front of your computer and make yourself write, something, anything, just write.

If you have the means and the time go on a retreat. You don't need to join other writers and pay exorbitant fees. Find someplace that allows you to relax and go there for a weekend. My parents have a cottage on forty acres in the middle of nowhere, or it seems like it is. Cell phones don't work there. Internet unheard of, yet it is one of the most peaceful places on earth. If I really want to get some serious writing done, I go there. I can hike in the woods. If it's warm enough I can drive six miles up the road and go swimming. I'm seriously only ten minutes from civilization. But it allows me to relax and gets me in the right frame of mind for writing.

I also escape during the winter months. If I remained in Michigan I would become a shut-in. I am not a winter person. So, I have taken to sojourning in South Carolina. My retreat there allows me to hear the ocean 24/7. What could be better than breaking up writing sessions with a walk on the beach? Or a dip in the ocean when the weather gets warmer?

Find your sacred writing place. Go there when you need to energize and get serious about your writing. Keep distractions at a minimum. But keep writing.


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