Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Writers' Wednesday--Asides

Did you write today? If the answer is, “Yes,” then congratulations. That’s exactly what you must do. If you don’t write, you can’t finish the book and you can’t sell it.

If the answer is “No,” then why not?

Some of us don’t because of demands--family, jobs, illness. Perhaps, this being summer, we don’t because of vacations.

I can manufacture a grocery list of reasons why I don’t/can’t/won’t produce new words on any given day. I like to think those are explanations, not excuses. But, really, sometimes I’m just lazy. Or I’m finishing a new, good book. I try never to read in the genre in which I’m writing at the time. That means no medievals until I finish my WIP. Regencies, however…. (The latest I devoured was Leigh Michaels’ JUST ONE SEASON IN LONDON. Terrific. I recommend it highly.)

But the fact is, if I’m serious about selling--and I am--then I’d better find some way to dump the excuses and maintain motivation.

I’ve recently come back from a fallow period in which nothing I wrote worked. I wrote, rewrote, revised. Finally I managed to pull myself together and get back to the hard work of committing new words daily. That experience made me realize the importance of maintaining a schedule and sticking to it, no matter what. Because if I don’t, my story will never see black of print

In their tips, several of our Writers’ Wednesday guests have emphasized the importance of writing every day. No matter the number of words, something must be produced, even if it later goes in revision. As best-selling author Nora Roberts says, “You can edit junk. You can’t edit a blank page.” (All right--I changed a word--but you get the idea. :-))

Write whether or not you feel like it. Write whether or not you think it’s any good right then. Writers can’t wait for inspiration, guest authors have said, or we’ll never get a word down.

Often I find myself writing late at night, thinking, “This is absolutely incoherent. A waste of time.” Then the next day when I check it, I usually find it wasn’t so bad at all.

Set a goal of a certain number of words a day. Several online groups have 100 word-daily challenges. Make the goal realistic, then make the goal. Challenge a writer friend to do the same.

Just yesterday, my weekly critique group challenged each other--and ourselves--to a specific number every day and for the week, because we're determined to finish our books within the next few weeks. At first the totals were intimidating, but I have no doubt we’ll reach them.

And you know what? I can finally see the end to that interminable story I’ve been working on. Edits, here I come.

Do you write every day? Why or why not? What motivates you to keep the words coming?


  1. Great reminder, Barb, that we should write everyday, even if it is only 100 words. Glad you're flexing your writing muscles again:) Can't wait to see what you've written.

  2. Thanks for beating me over the head, Barb. I admit I've struggled the past few months with my current WIP. I've been so dishearted with it that I didn't want to look at it or think...WTF? But, recently I've taken some online writing courses that have helped me with certain areas within my writing and I've been working on making changes. I truly believe that one of the reasons for not writing was not knowing exactly what the heck to do with my current WIP. The classes offered me great tools and techniques to equip me better and not feel so frustrated. While making changes with it, I have also been energized with a new short story. But yes, writing everyday is the key to finishing the book and so is knowing what the heck to do next. Great topic and thanks for reminding us all.

    JD :)

  3. Jen and JD, Thanks for stopping in today.

    Jen, once you start writing, your fingers fly! Wish I had that ability.

    JD, so glad your frustrations are easing and you're getting back with the book. Sometimes digressing into another story can reenergize the original one. Keep at it!


  4. Hi Barb!

    Wonderful reminder that we need to write everyday. I don't always make it and lately I've been editing more than writing.

    Reading keeps me motivated believe it or not and inspires me to do better.

    Thanks again, Barb.