I have to admit, I’m pretty darn pleased with myself.
As the school year drew to a close, I began setting goals for my writing life. The main one that I settled on was this: Have my WIP revised and ready to be sent to a potential agent by the end of the summer (the beginning of August). In order to do this on a WIP that tops 170 pages (and frankly, needed some major reworking since it started as a NaNoWriMo novel), I knew that I’d need to schedule in time to write. Daily, if possible.
Through the past two years, since I’ve decided to “bite the bullet” and begin to pursue publication, I’ve figured out a few things about my writing self.
1.) I am most productive in the morning.
I’ve always been a morning person. (See footnote for childhood story about this.) During the school year, though my contract states I need to be at school at 8:30 am, I’m always there around 7:00 am. I am more motivated in the morning, and I get more accomplished. I love to see the sun streaming through the windows of my house or my classroom. It makes me want to work! So clearly, mornings are the best time for me to write. I feel so good about myself after I’ve got my writing done for the day!
2.) If I don’t write in the morning, I’ll likely come up with a reason not to write in the afternoon.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to write. Since 2nd grade, with my first story (published by St. Wenceslaus School in a very official 3-pronged folder) My Cousin Rachel, I have wanted to be a writer. But that doesn’t mean that I always want to do it. Maybe it’s just the way I am. I have a hard time psyching myself up to start things. When I was younger and in dance class, I never wanted to go, but always had fun once I got there. I have a hard time starting to write, but enjoy it once I’ve started. Since I know this about myself (and know that I’ll find an excuse not to write as the day progresses), I write as soon as I can so that I know I’ve gotten it in during the day.
3.) If I get in a pattern, I will force myself to continue that pattern.
If I know that I need to write every morning, I will do it. If I skip a day, all that I can think about, all day long, is that I’ve let myself down. (I should’ve written today… Why didn’t I just do it? I can’t believe I didn’t write today… My writing career to doomed… stuff like that.)
This is exactly why I come writing to working out. I’m often not motivated to work out (not really a fan of sweating…) like I’m sometimes not motivated to write (or revise – ugh). I love the way I feel all day after working out, just as I love the way I feel after I’ve written. If I don’t work out in the morning, I guarantee I will find an excuse not to do it later on in the day, just as I will often find an excuse not to write. (In fact, I more likely to write later in the day than work out.) And if I get into a pattern of working out, I will force myself to continue that pattern, just as I will force myself to write once I’m in a pattern.
I am pleased to say that this summer, with only a few exceptions (the day after the Michael Buble concert por ejemplo), I have been writing every day. This has been a blessing for me. I feel like a writer. I have an interesting response when people ask me what I’ve been doing this summer. I’ve scratched and clawed my way out of a big revision-hating hole. I’m more motivated than ever to make my WIP the best it can be. I am truly bettering myself as a writer, which in truth, I think is also bettering me as a person.
Now if I can only get back into a working out pattern…
*Childhood Story: This is one my mom’s favorite stories to tell about my sister, Amanda, and I when we were younger. I was probably in 8th or 9th grade and Amanda was in 6th or 7th. Now, those of you who don’t know Amanda need to understand that she is silly. She is super funny, loves to laugh (and make others laugh), and does some crazy things sometimes. As a young teenager, she really had a way of getting on my nerves.
One morning before school, I was (as a morning person) singing and dancing around the kitchen while Amanda was silently eating her cereal. After a few minutes of my extreme cheerfulness, Amanda glared at me and said, “Will you stop it Michelle? You’re so annoying!” I stopped, look her in the eye, and responded, “Welcome to my world.”