Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Write Every Day!
Writing is habit-forming
Do anything often enough and it becomes a habit.
When I was younger, a lot of my friends and classmates were writers. Now, I’m the only one I know of who still does. Why? I think it’s because I never got out of the habit.
As a teenager, writing was just a part of my life. I wrote every week and even during lunches (ahem…or classes) and I attended a writing group at my school once a week as well. It got me into the mindset of writing early. Even back then, I was the one writing the most frequently and creating the most varied stories.
I was fortunate. I picked up the writing habit early and it stuck. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up later in life. I have friends who are seniors who have reclaimed their writing dreams from youth. They write every day. So can you.
Practice makes perfect
Most people learn from their mistakes. The problem is that you have to make mistakes first.
If you’re not writing, you’re not making mistakes. But this kind of writing practice is more than just creating a lot of unexamined pages. If you’re not re-reading, revising, editing, sharing, critiquing, etc., your work on a regular basis, you may never stop making the first rookie writing mistakes.
Send your work out into the world, even if it’s just to a friend or family member. Share it. Put it away for a while and then read your story again with a fresh eye. In the meantime, keep writing. You will pick up on these critiques and incorporate them into your new work. Just try it and see.
Volume allows for perseverance and variety
I write in different subgenres of romance and the reason I can do so is because I write so much. I’m not saying I write a lot of pages every day, especially when compared with full time writers, but I write as much as I reasonably can while balancing my day job and my family.
This has allowed me to write historical romances, contemporaries and, recently, an erotic romance novella.
Putting a single manuscript out into the hard world is difficult. It’s also limiting. It helps (mentally and practically) to have more than one iron in the fire. When you get one rejection letter, as I do every month or so, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that you have four more manuscripts out there, giving you four more chances for success.
Try this exercise: write a sentence a day for a week. Then try writing a paragraph. Then a page. Every day. Before you know it, you will be in the habit.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn at freedigitalphotos.net