Monday, August 16, 2010
How to Keep Writing
By Rhonda Browning White
The most ardent, self-disciplined taskmasters occasionally have weak moments when we find it hard to write, but it’s important to work through those feeble hours. How do we do it? How do we make writing a priority and encourage ourselves to put words on the page? These easy steps will keep you going through the driest days of writing drought (and doubt).
1. Give yourself permission to write. To whom does this dream, this life-goal, this road to success belong? It belongs to you! So why do you need anyone else’s permission to pursue it? Simply put, you don’t. You only need your permission. So what are you waiting for? Go write!
2. Beat your doubt into submission. Face it; you’re not going to wake up each morning eager to jump headlong into writing. In fact, most days you won’t even want to get out of bed without hitting the snooze button at least once. Don’t wait for the Muse to sit on your shoulder. She’s a fickle little witch, anyway. You don’t need her. Write without her, just to spite her!
3. Write down your dreams. Start big! New York Times Bestseller list? Fine. Now break it down. Might need to write a book first, right? That’ll mean finding an agent, as well. How will she know you’re any good? Ahhh, yes, she’ll see your list of bylines. Don’t have any? Time to write some short stories, articles or poems. Have you already written some good ones? Then send them out! Breaking your dreams into manageable pieces is the first thing to do. Then take one step toward completing those steps each week (or each day)! And keep writing.
4. Accept that you’ll never see the bottom of the laundry basket. There will always be clothes to wash, pots to scour, floors to mop and bathtubs to scrub. And they’ll be there after you’ve finished writing today. (Trust me; the housecleaning fairy doesn’t exist—I’ve set many traps for her, to no avail). If dinner isn’t started on time, order pizza, and keep writing. Ask your family to pitch in and help with chores. If they ignore your pleas, they’ll figure out that someone needs to go to the grocery store when the cupboards are bare. In the meantime, keep writing.
5. Learn to accept rejection. Realize that a rejection of your manuscript isn’t a rejection of you, as a person. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible writer. It may simply mean that your work was too long, too short, too funny, too sad, or didn’t fit the space or theme of a particular magazine’s forthcoming subscription. Or it could be that the agent or editor simply doesn’t like the genre or style in which you write. The next agent might think it’s the best thing she’s ever read! Rejection happens. Get over it, and keep writing.
6. Submit your work. The best thing I know of to inspire more writing is publication. Of course, you have to take a moment to dance your way back from the mailbox, and you may have to crack open a bottle of champagne, or go out to dinner tonight to celebrate. But as soon as you return home, start writing. It’s important to feed the excitement of inspiration with words and more words. And more words. Your words. Build off your own momentum. Keep writing!
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