Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To Write or Not....

     It is said that to be successful in writing you have to write. A certain amount of time or pages or just anything - if not every day, then regularly - no matter what.
     I  recently came across a fellow writer who said we shouldn't waste our time writing if we're uninspired (or tired or frustrated), because whatever we create will just need to be thrown away or re-written the next writing session. Which is  a valid argument, but for some it may be better to have something, however bad, to work with the next session than the same blank page you left the day before.
     I recently spoke to another writer who also thought working on a WIP when you can't focus is a waste of time and energy, but she still advocated writing something everyday. If you can't work productively on your current project, then blog, write a journal entry or a letter to Aunt Jane. This also makes sense.
     The truth is, you have to make time to write and you have to use your writing time wisely. There is so much more to the writing life than just creating. Blogs and websites have to be kept updated, markets have to be researched, submissions sent out, outlines written, revisions made.
     Because I have a full-0time job and other commitments, I try to prioritize my work, with the most important work in progress being at the top of the list. If I can't make any progress on that, I go to something else. I have to be at my most alert to work on revisions, even more so than on a first or second draft.  Marketing and submissions I can do when I have no creative spark at all. 
     One trick I use to see where I'm at mentally is games and puzzles. (See "Solitaire As A Writing Tool"). A quick game of Spider Solitaire will let me know how well my brain cells are functioning at any particular time of day. Even better are Sudoku puzzles. If I struggle through an easy or medium level one, it's probably not a good time to tackle a difficult writing issue. If I zip through a challenging or difficult game or puzzle, I know I'm at the top of my game and need to take advantage of that.
     We each have to do what works best for us, but trying new things can help us find what it is that does work.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Is That A Bad Thing?

     This weekend I attended a writers' seminar organized by a member of my writers group, Dr. Trisha Petty, of Antebellum Productions and Cellophane Ministries. My friend Mary Ann was sitting next to me and said exactly what I was thinking; that the problem with any kind of writing seminar, workshop, or conference is that they never fail to teach you something.
     You're wondering how that is a bad thing. The trouble with learning something new is that you want to apply it to all your writing, especially your WIP.
     How is that a bad thing? It makes you want to go home and revise, reorganize, possibly even start over with whatever your current project is, incorporating whatever new concept or skill you have discovered.
     The problem with that is the amount of work it creates. You can't resist the urge to use what you have learned improve your writing, no matter how much time, energy and hard work it will involve.
    Can you still not see what's wrong with that?
     I guess I can't either.