Getting with the Business of Writing
In a previous post I mentioned that I needed to start behaving like writing was my job instead of a casual pastime. I’m happy to report that I’m finally getting that mindset solidified in my resistant brain. By making sure I spend at least an hour editing before I get involved in anything else every morning, I’ve managed to edit a little over 6 chapters or the equivalent of about 12 percent of Sasha’s Journey.
It took me a bit to find a rhythm and to realize that hybrid tasks, those which are a combination of creative and analytical, work best when treated like analytical-only tasks. Thus, I’ve been working with music playing in he background. My music of choice lately has been my Loggins and Messina station on Pandora, but I suspect I’ll dance around the channels as I get further into the book.
I’ve also found the methodology which works best for me. I edit a chapter or so one day and the next, I revisit what I edited the previous day and do one more pass before moving on. Then, time and attention permitting, I move on to the next chapter. Some days, like today for instance, I don’t get very far because I no longer like where my next chapter is going, partly because it’s trite and partly because I’ve made some sweeping changes to the first few chapters so some of the ones further along just don’t fit any more. Completely trashing the first 2 1/2 chapters does have a way of making the story change directions a bit, dontcha know.
Slow and Steady, Like the Tortoise I Am
This process is certainly testing my patience, especially when I sit here staring at the screen trying to make the right words come. I know what I want to say, but sometimes the words elude me for a time. But forcing myself to forge on, if only for an hour or so at a time means that progress is being made. the forty-odd pages I’ve revised and re-revised are now behind me and that’s forty-odd less than I had a couple of weeks ago.
In all fairness, I would still be bumbling along without the butt-kicking I got a few weeks ago. Without it, I don’t think the article I read about behaving like a real writer would have had the same impact, much less the same results. As it is, I’ve spent at least an hour a day editing, and seem to be increasing by 15 minutes or so every day. I’m no longer looking at the clock and saying Dang! I still have 45 minutes left? Instead, I’m more likely to go until hunger, thirst or creaky joints makes me take a break. My next challenge will be to get the daily chores better regulated so I can get more than one session in every day. It’s just a series of baby steps. I’ve found if I go until I’m starving, I’ll eat whatever is handy, but if I stop when I’m just starting to feel peckish, I’ll actually take the time to make a salad. For now, I’ll err on the side of less writing and more self-care just as long as I get at least an hour in every morning, and so far, my To Do list is telling a very happy tale.
Have You Ever Noticed How Life is a Cycle of Making and Breaking Habits?
In the last couple of years, I’ve established some wonderful, healthy, productive habits, only to break them a few months down the line, wallow in my sloth and eventually establish new habits. There was a time I’d have beat myself up over the ones I’ve broken after working so hard to make them, but I’ve learned something in the afternoon of my existence. I learn from the habits I make and keep them until they aren’t doing what I need them too any more. Then I futz around, reading, learning and being lazy and unproductive until something resonates and I feel motivated to create a new habit or two. I’ve come to the conclusion that breaking some of the healthy habits isn’t really failure but evolution. As I change, I need to adapt the habits to those changes rather than following something which no longer gets noticeable results. Like a job or a relationship, a habit can be outgrown, but it might take awhile to realize it while we’re beating ourselves up over being inconsistent. I’m learning that if I start losing initiative, it’s time to look around and see where I need to go next. Look for that fork in the road which wasn’t there before because a side trip might be just what is needed. In a nutshell, when a habit starts feeling more like drudgery than self-improvement, it’s time to let it go and look for that interesting detour because that detour might just hold what you need in your life right now.
I’ve put this post on my website rather than my blog because, essentially, it is about writing, but somehow I’m no longer able to write about my writing without wandering into the topic of Leaps of Faith somewhere along the way. This month, the Power Path School of Shamanism wrote that September’s themes are Faith and Trust. I took this to mean that it is a month when I should be revisiting my Leaps of Faith and adjusting where my gut and my guides tell me to. Setting a regular writing/editing schedule is, I believe, just the beginning.
What part of your life needs a little Faith and Trust? Will you use this month to make those changes?
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the friend who posted a link for Wayne Dyer’s The Shift. The timing was perfect and watching it was very inspiring.
2. I am grateful for insights and inspirational sites which help keep me moving forward in this adventure called life.
3. I am grateful for the progress I’ve made over the last few days and look forward to a great deal more.
4. I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to help a friend. It made me realize that I don’t take the time to do for others often enough, and that’s another area of my life where I’ll be making some changes.
5. I am grateful for abundance: motivation, inspiration, productivity, friendship, love, kindness, compassion, patience, joy, peace, harmony, health, prosperity and philanthropy.