Romance University yesterday, struggling writer Sally Bayless posted about her lack of discipline during revisions. When she started out she treated her writing as a job.
AAh! Bells rang in my head! (yes, just like my characters who are forever hearing warning bells clanging.)
A few years back I decided the only way to take this writing seriously was to treat it like a job. And I did. I kept my writing hours sacred. Not to be interrupted by appointments or kids or other distractions. Like the internet. Or TV. Or shopping. Or housework. I even gave up sewing and crafts so I could use my free time to write instead. I realized if writing was so important, I needed to devote all the time I could to it. After all, focus was the way I had succeeded in other areas of my life and it should work with writing a book.
Somehow, as frustration set in and the writing became harder, I let myself be distracted by everything and anything. But for me, the problem isn't really the distractions. I'm not hooked by the internet or TV or shopping.
The distractions, or the time spent wasting time, is a symptom of my real problem: frustration at not being able to get it right the first time. No matter how many times I tell myself "don't get it right, get it written" or "you can't fix a blank page" or "all writing is rewriting" somehow when writing becomes difficult, I start giving up. I'll work on it tomorrow - or the next day- or the next week. As Sally says in her blog piece, if I worked for me, I would fire me. As my employer, I would call me into the office and have a discussion about productivity and pulling up my socks. As an employer, I'm not interested in excuses. I'm only interested in results. And I would give my slack employee (me) a deadline to prove I could do it or else she(me) would be shown the door. (okay, I'll stop talking about myself in the third person because it is totally annoying - and confusing.)
So, I'm putting the writing back as #1 on my list of priorities. And accepting no excuses. If it's too hot, then I just find a fan! or an air conditioned library or coffee shop. At least I will when my daughter comes back with my air conditioned car. Until then, the fan will do.
How about you? Are you taking a vacation from the "job" of being a writer this summer? Or are you making a make or break pact with yourself that this is the summer you will do it?