We did it!!!
One entire month (a long one, too! August has 31 days! remind me to do WFMAD in February next year) of daily writing. For those of you who rose above your doubts and fears and met this challenge with daily success, I bow my head in respect and offer my congratulations.
This writing thing is a whole lot harder than it seems.
If you didn’t meet the challenge, please don’t waste any time beating yourself up. Life is too short for that kind of nonsense. Instead, use this as an opportunity to figure why you couldn’t find fifteen minutes a day to write. Were you able to find time each day for other habits? What about those other habits is more rewarding to you than writing?
I am not criticizing or judging. You are the person in charge of your life, not me.
This is the second year I’ve offered this challenge. I do it in response to the most common questions I receive about writing:
1. How can I become a writer?
2. I want to be a writer but I am too busy. How do I change that?
I believe that, at some level, we can all be writers, because we are all natural-born storytellers. I believe that if you have a passion for something, you have necessary seeds of talent. But if your goal is to have your work published, you have to nurture those seeds. Develop the craft. Commit to daily writing and make space in your life for it.
1. To be a writer, you must write.
2. Cut out the unnecessary things from your life.
I have a confession to make here. This has been the worst summer of my life. It came after one of the most challenging years of my life. At this point twelve months ago, I was gearing up for the publication of CHAINS. Then I went on book tour. Came home and started on the pre-publicity interviews and craziness for WINTERGIRLS. Then I went on book tour, again. Then I went to Peru. Finally, when I came home from the last roadtrip in May, my mother spun into her final illness. I spent weeks taking care of her and held her as she died. Then we took in a relative who needed a home. Then my father-in-law died.
We’re calling this our Summer of Sorrow. (Alternative title: Summer of Suck.)
Did I write every single day through all that craziness? Hell, no. I did get some scribbling in here and there. Worked on my next book between book tours. Journaled. Wrote emails. But I found it impossible to hold on to the daily discipline that is fundamental to keeping me healthy, not to mention it’s my job.
Orchestrating this challenge has helped me find my pathagain. I’m still kind of a mess, still mourning the deaths of our parents, still pretty damn tired. But I am writing again. Every day. Some days for ten hours or more.
That is one of many beautiful things about our Muse. She is patient and understanding. If life takes you away from the craft, She’ll be there when you get back. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down; what matters is how many times you get up again.
So thank you for helping me pick myself up and dust myself off.
How has your writing been this month?
Today’s advice: "Don’t be a writer. Be writing." William Faulkner
Today’s prompt: Write about what worked for you this month and what didn’t work. Is your life too complicated to write every day? Why? If it is, how often can you stake out writing time? What needs to change in order for you to feel you have permission to write?