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October 30, 2012
A book published in 2008 made the claim that, in order to be great in any field, you needed to put in about 10,000 hours of practice. It applied to musicians and writers and doctors–anyone wanting to get better in their chosen field.
Young makes a very good point, one I had suspected for a long time. It isn’t just about putting in the hours working. It is about practicing our craft.
Aren’t They the Same Thing?
Working and practicing are NOT the same thing. That’s why 10,000 hours of writing might turn one writer into a mega seller, and the other writer might still be unknown.
What you do with those 10,000 hours (or however many you spend writing) makes a lot of difference.
Work vs. Practice
What is the difference between work and practice? According to Young,
Many professionals confuse the two, and as a result their skills stagnate even though they’re investing considerable time.
Elite athletes don’t get better at their sport just by playing a lot of games. They do drills. Drills are highly focused activities designed to rapidly build proficiency in one minor detail of their sport.
Violinists don’t play every song start to finish to practice. Instead they identify the hardest sections and practice them endlessly until they’ve mastered them.
Yet, when we want to be a better programmer, writer or designer, what do we do? We just work. We don’t practice the highly specific, immediate-feedback oriented tasks necessary to cultivate mastery.
The fix is simple: if you want to get better you need to adopt the mentality of an elite athlete or musician and actually practice (as opposed to just work).
Get the Most from Your Writing Time
None of us have much time to waste. We want to make the precious hours we save for writing really count. How do we do that?
First, much of your writing time will be working time (planning and writing rough drafts and revising).
However, you’d be wise, if you want to be published and build an audience and sell lots of books, to set aside a portion (the bigger, the better) of your time for honest-to-goodness practice. Like the pianist and violinist who practice the hard parts over and over, we writers need to do the same thing.
Tasks to Master
We probably all could name several writing areas where we are weak. If we don’t know, we can ask our critique people. These are the areas to practice.
For example, one of my weak areas is writing figurative language. If I think of one original figure of speech per book, I’m doing well. So what’s my plan?
I’m going to take regular time to practice, using Cindy Rogers’ excellent book, Word Magic for Writers, which is chock full of exercises in every chapter. For feedback, I’ll probably ask a writer friend to look at my exercises (a writer who is especially good at figurative language).
Target Your Practice Time
If we spend our writing time doing the same kind of writing in the same kind of way, we can’t expect to improve very quickly. But if our practice time is intentional–if we target specific weak skill areas–we’ll make observable progress.
How about you? Is there one specific area you could study that would make a big difference in your writing? Or two or three areas that could become goals for 2013? Please share!
September 16, 2011
Today’s post is a two-part blog. First, I’m calling all NaNoWriMo fans! It’s almost that time again: National Novel Writing Month. Second, I’ll give you links for articles on writer burn-out, boundaries for writers, writing every day for a year, and ten skills every writer needs.
First Things First
I wanted to remind you that November will be here sooner than you think. According to their website, “National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. Want to try? Or just curious exactly how it works? Then read “How NaNoWriMo Works in Ten Easy Steps.”
I’ve participated three times in NaNoWriMo, and each year was better. If you’re an organized writer who uses an outline–even a brief one–NOW is the time to be planning your November novel (or two novels, if yours will be in the 25,000-word range.)
The first year I did no planning, and I quit after a week or so. The second year I had an idea, and I made it through the month successfully, but most of that novel got thrown away because it had no real structure. My third year was the most successful because I had the books more planned out before I started. (If you’re not a planning kind of writer, then this advice won’t apply to you.)
However, if you’re like me and don’t like to waste writing time (or just don’t have time to waste), then get going now. Give yourself a couple weeks now to work out an idea–or rework an idea you’ve been toying with already. Then take October to do your pre-writing: character sketches, plot ideas, setting research, and a rough outline. Then, on November 1, you’ll be ready to hit the keyboard!
Secondly, for your weekend reading pleasure…
- We’ve talked often of being able to set boundaries so that we have time to write. Here’s an article that tells you how–including actual “scripts” for various situations. It’s called “Setting Boundaries & Saying No…Nicely.”
- “Writing for 365 Days in a Row” is one writer’s way of finding accountability for getting the writing done. For his explanation of why he’s doing this, see his “Day 1″ post. This is something you could do alone or with a friend, I would think.
- “The Art of Avoiding Burn Out” is full of good reminders about taking care of yourself so you survive the writing life in the long haul. There’s a lot of wisdom packed into her lengthy list of suggestions.
- “Ten Skills Every Writer Needs” has to do with surviving and thriving in the writing life. I imagine there are more than ten skills needed, but this is an excellent beginning!
Read and enjoy! And then start planning for NaNoWriMo!
September 12, 2011
Writers are opinionated people.
Our brains never seem to stop. We criticize because we “know” how things and people should be. This “critical editor component” of our personality is absolutely invaluable to the editing and revision process. If you can’t spot what’s wrong with a manuscript, you can’t fix it.
However, this same critical ability can cause writers to actually lose focus, allowing their writing hours to slip away with little or no work done.
Think About It
Many of us go through our daily lives with our internal critic or editor in charge. We don’t see the person right in front of us as he or she is (which may be perfectly fine.) Instead, that person reminds us of an ex-spouse, and we “see” characteristics that aren’t there. Stress!
Conversely, we think the person in front of us is “supposed” to be kind and supportive (our inner definition of parent/spouse/child/sibling). And yet many such relationships are anything but, leaving us hurt and upset because they should be supportive. More stress! Life rarely satisfies a person who lets the “shoulds” run his life.
Do we spend our time “shoulding”? We don’t see a child who is happily singing at the top of her voice. (That child should be more quiet in the store!) We don’t see an interesting shade of purple hair. (That teenager should resemble a miniature adult instead.) We don’t see the predator or user sometimes either–because trusted family members shouldn’t be such things. Our “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” color everything we observe.
Change Your Perspective
Our inner editor sometimes keeps us from seeing what’s in front of us. We are constantly “revising” the facts. So what’s the problem with that? You can’t accept–and get peace about–what you can’t honestly see or face. You stay stirred up–a condition rarely suited to being creative. Sometimes the simplest solutions evade us because we’re all riled up inside.
It reminds me of a story (you may also be familiar with) about “The River and the Lion: After the great rains, the lion was faced with crossing the river that had encircled him. Swimming was not in his nature, but it was either cross or die. The lion roared and charged at the river, almost drowning before he retreated. Many more times he attacked the water, and each time he failed to cross. Exhausted, the lion lay down, and in his quietness he heard the river say, “Never fight what isn’t here.”
Cautiously, the lion looked up and asked, “What isn’t here?”
“Your enemy isn’t here,” answered the river. “Just as you are a lion, I am merely a river.”
Now the lion sat very still and studied the ways of the river. After a while, he walked to where a certain current brushed against the shore, and stepping in, floated to the other side.
Control What You Can: Yourself
We also can’t gain peace of mind and the ability to focus unless we’re willing to give up trying to control everyone and everything in our environment. We spend entire days fuming and fretting over situations or people we can’t change or control, wasting precious writing and study time.
We need to save our judging skills for revision time and critiquing. We need to save our control freak behaviors for finagling with our characters’ actions. And you may as well give up having to convince people you’re right, while you’re at it. Letting go of those three things (judging, controlling, being right) will give you more inner peace faster than hours of yoga and meditation and mind-altering substances.
Start Right Here, Right Now
Think about something that is currently keeping your mind in knots to the point that you can barely write. I will bet that you are judging someone’s behavior, or trying to figure out how to control a situation, or having mental conversations in which you prove to that stubborn person how right you are. (I know this from personal experience in case you think I’ve been reading your mail.)
Letting go of criticism and control is freedom. For the writer, it means hours and hours are freed up for reading and writing. Just for today, let grown people and situations be what they are. Let them work on solutions for their own problems–or not. Turn all that “should” energy on your own work.
At the end of day, you’ll have something great to show for it!
August 8, 2011
In the August edition of Randy Ingermanson’s free (wonderfully helpful) newsletter, there was a link to a free e-book describing a new time management system Randy is using. (For back issues of Randy’s newsletter, go here.)
Since “free” is one of my favorite words, and I’m always looking for ways to manage my time better, I downloaded it to skim.
Skimming quickly turned to reading carefully, and soon I’d read the whole 57-page e-book by Jim Stone called Clear Mind, Effective Action. It deals with the subject of “fractal planning.” Fractal has to do with breaking something large into smaller parts. (You can get the free e-book here.)
In some ways fractal planning is unique, and some parts are a combination of the best time management ideas from the past twenty years.
In the free e-book, the author explains how to implement his system on your own (on paper or spreadsheet or Word document), if you don’t want to subscribe to his service. (I’m using a Word doc–for now–to see how it goes. I have to admit that–so far–it has boosted my productivity and ability to focus significantly.) If you’d like to go directly to the Fractal Planner page and check out the features, you can do that here.
If you try the fractal planner or read the e-book, let me know. I’d like to hear about your experiences–plus or minus–if you try it out.
June 8, 2011
Back in high school, I watched people try to be more social and outgoing instead of shy wallflowers by drinking.
They got talkative, and yes, they certainly tried things they would never have done sober. They looked and sounded silly–or worse–to me. Being under the influence (of anything) didn’t help them.
It doesn’t help writers either. [And that includes quite a few things we're dependent on.]
Over the weekend I was re-reading one of the very best books on writing that I own. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland is a classic. In one chapter she was talking about how words and our really good ideas come slowly–and how impatient writers get and the unproductive, artificial ways they try to “hurry” the words.
“…good thoughts come slowly. And so it is nothing for you to worry about or to be afraid of, and it is even a bad plan to hurry them artificially. For when you do so, there may be suddenly many thoughts, but that does not mean that they are specialy good ones or interesting. It is just as when you give a thoughtful, slightly tired person a stiff drink. Before the drink he says nothing but what seems to him interesting and important. He mentally discards the thoughts that are not important enough to make up for the fatigue of saying them. But after the drink, all his thoughts come out head over heels, whatever crosses his mind. There are suddenly many thoughts; but they are just like the flutter of thoughts that come out of one of those unfortunate people who cannot keep from talking all the time. This kind of talking [or writing, I might add] is not creation. It is just mental evacuation.”
Drug of Choice
While I never drank, I had my own stimulants to get my mind going. While never a coffee drinker or smoker, I had my four-candy-bar-a-day habit, and my day started with two Diet Cokes. When I got bogged down and blocked and didn’t know what to write next, a sugar rush and caffeine jolt could get me producing again and keep me going. But it took me years to see that the quality of the writing suffered.
Ueland quotes Tolstoy (Anna Karenina, War and Peace) on this subject of being quiet and thinking, and waiting for the words and “tiny, tiny alterations of consciousness” to come:
“It is at such times that one needs the greatest clearness to decide correctly the questions that have arisen, and it is just then that one glass of beer, or one cigarette [or candy bar or donut or Coke, I might add] may prevent the solution of the question, may postpone the decision, stifle the voice …”
A Quiet Patience
We get in such a hurry to write, to revise, to submit. When the words don’t come quickly, we use stimulants to force the issue, and often end up with something (Ueland calls) “superficial and automatic, like children yelling at a birthday party,” not something tried and tested and true.
I know I’ve been guilty of this “hurry” habit with my writing in the past, but yesterday I made a conscious effort NOT to do so. I gave it time, and when the words didn’t come readily, I waited (instead of making my usual trip to the fridge.) It was uncomfortable at times. But I ended up writing for over two solid hours without interruption, and I’m excited about what I wrote. It may not be War and Peace, but it’s not “superficial and automatic” either.
Is it harder for you to write without artificial help? Does it affect your writing–or had you thought about it? Try writing “with” and “without,” and see if it makes a difference.
April 6, 2011
Recently at a conference we were comparing stories about how long it is taking lately for our publishers to respond to our submissions or queries.
Right now, each of us is experiencing a huge “non-response” in some way. (In my own case, three people that didn’t get back to me had been “let go” in down-sizing moves.) No writer I know is exempt from the economic upheaval of our times.
The news is grim for writers, wherever you turn. Predictions make your heart sink, and you may wonder if you’re just beating your head against a brick wall if you keep writing. I read something this morning–from a weight loss newsletter, of all things–that put this question in perspective for me.
Are You Nuts?
The opening quote said: “The mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.” (unknown source) It was followed by:
On July 24, 2004, there was a 0% chance of rain in Cincinnati. No way was it going to rain, according to the people who should know best. You know what? Despite millions of dollars worth of sensors, computers, and forecasting systems, the weather experts were wrong. It rained, against all odds. This is not a criticism of weather people. It’s just a reminder of all the people who were given 0% chance of making it by the “experts,” but who succeeded anyway. Whenever accomplishments are on the line, there are always voices whispering, preaching–even shouting–that it can’t be done. Sometimes, that voice is coming from inside our own heads. If you’re having doubts about your abilities, just remember: How many times have the naysayers been proven wrong? No matter what anyone says–no matter what you might believe–it can be done. The nut can become a tree. There’s always a chance of rain.
Stand Your Ground
Until the dust settles economically, I urge you to continue writing, to continue studying and improving your craft, and to maintain your good writing habits. The tide will turn again. When it does, and publishers begin to buy once more, you’ll be ready with your best submissions.
Whether you’re still an acorn writer with lots of potential, or a half-grown oak, continue to follow your dream. Don’t let others’ negative opinions and predictions determine the state of your goals and writing life.
March 23, 2011
(First re-read the post The Thought-Feeling-Behavior Cycle.)
After a couple of busy weekends (writing conferences to speak at) and other events, I was finally able to sit down for a lengthy time yesterday and write. Or so I thought.
I sat down all right, but once I finally had an uninterrupted moment to think, a certain situation that has been bothering me for months came flooding back. I couldn’t concentrate on my novel, and I was up and down. I walked. I ate. I sorted laundry. I worried. I ate some more. Later in the day, I Skyped a friend. But I didn’t write until…
Ah, Yes, I Remember
I picked up a book by Kelly L. Stone, author of Living Write: the secret to inviting your craft into your daily life. I flipped through it and landed on the chapter called “Acting As If.” I knew this was a phrase from my old recovery group days basically meaning “fake it till you make it.”
I reviewed the thoughts-feelings-action cycle. Since my thoughts were unruly, and my feelings were haywire, I figured that “acting like a writer anyway” was my best option. I read her chapter on “Acting As If.” Here are a couple snippets to think about:
- People draw conclusions about themselves through observation of their own behavior just as they draw conclusions about other people based on observation of their behavior.
- Simply act a certain way based on your ideal Writer Self-Image, and over time, you become what you are acting.
Attack that Cycle!
A licensed professional counselor, Stone had many practical suggestions about how to act “as if” you’re a confident writer, act “as if” you’re a self-motivated writer, act “as if” you’re a self-disciplined writer, act “as if” you’re a future-focused writer, and act “as if” you’re a task-oriented writer. [I definitely recommend her book.]
I used one suggestion in the “task-oriented” section, acted “as if,” and got to work. Even though it was later in the day, I had the evening free and ended up with one of the most productive writing days I’d had in a long time. (I’m re-reading that chapter first thing today though!)
Don’t give up. We’re all in this together, and I’m grateful for writers like Kelly Stone who share what works!
[NOTE: Thanks for the inquiries about the release date for the paperback of More Writer's First Aid. I thought it would be yesterday, but it looks like this weekend. I will certainly let you know!]
March 21, 2011
I once had an apartment with one large hall closet. At first it was roomy and organized. Over the two years I lived there, it grew more and more crowded and chaotic as I stuffed more and more junk into it. One day, I realized I couldn’t jam one more thing in there and still close the door.
Something was going to have to come OUT before more would go IN.
Time is Like a Closet
One year I took some online classes plus set up a self-study program to grow in my writing craft. It would require around four hours per day to do everything I wanted to do. Given the fact that I NEVER had four free hours in a day, where was that time going to come from?
One thing I love to do on January 1 is change calendars: wall calendars in kitchen and office, desk calendars (daily and monthly) in my office, and pocket calendars for my purse. The squares of the New Year calendar pages are virtually pristine and pure. An occasional appointment already made dots a square or two, but that’s all.
The calendars I pitch have perhaps one or two clean white squares per month with nothing scheduled. Just looking at them makes me feel tired. I know from experience, though, that the clean calendars will soon look just as jam-packed as the old calendars if I didn’t take steps NOW to prevent it.
Create a “NOT To-Do” List
To make time for some new things I wanted to do, I had to look at the calendar and find the time wasters. Some events are important to me and will stay on my new schedule: our weekly potluck supper with my grown kids and grandkids, teaching Sunday school at the Air Force base to basic trainees, my every-other-week critique group, leading DivorceCare at church, and blogging 3X/week. These activities feed my goals of a strong extended family, volunteer service, and growth as a writer.
However, I noticed a LOT of stuff on my calendar that could easily go. (Well, easily in the sense that I wouldn’t miss it. Difficult in the sense that it would mean saying “no” more often-and people pleasers like me hate that.)
My Personal “Not To-Do” List
I know the Internet eats up a lot of time for me. This year I’ve decided to stay offline until noon by adding the blog the night before so it posts automatically in the morning without me being online. Before I go to bed at night, I remove the laptop (which has the Internet connection) from my office altogether. It’s easier to deal with the temptation this way. Out of sight, out of mind! Reading other people’s blogs, posting on Twitter and Facebook, and answering e-mail can wait till later in the day.
No more “come and buy something” parties. I don’t like parties selling jewelry, home interior decorations, clothing, pots and pans, etc. I am also going to limit how many invitations I accept to showers. At my age, every woman is having grandkids and giving baby showers for friends having new grandkids. I rarely know their children or grandchildren. The shower only appears to take two hours, but by the time you’ve bought and wrapped a gift, gotten yourself ready, and driven to and from in heavy city traffic, it kills about eight hours. A gift card in the mail would be fine most of the time. (Not sure I’ll ever get up the guts to RSVP with, “Hey, I’ve never even met your kid, and I barely even know you, so I won’t be coming or sending a gift.”) Sounds very Scroogey, I know. But ooooh, so tempting.
I will no longer clean the house before the every-other-month visit by the Orkin bug man.
I won’t attend more than one social function per weekend, no matter how much I love the people. Social functions wear me out, keep me up too late to get a good night’s sleep, and because talking aggravates my TMJ, it results in headaches. I was astounded how many things were on the calendar that I didn’t enjoy. (Example: both my husband and I hate football, so why are we going to Super Bowl parties every year?)
I will stop scheduling necessary doctor and dentist appointments in the middle of my work day.
This is just a beginning, but I think you get the idea.
Your task, if you decide to accept it, is to look at your old calendar and make a list of things you no longer want to do. Prune away the events, committees, and jobs that have become time wasters keeping you from fulfilling your own higher priority goals and commitments.
Keep the list near your phone. Practice saying, “Thank you for asking me (or inviting me), but I’m afraid I will have to say NO at this time.” End of discussion.
You can do it! I can do it! Having a “NOT To-Do” list is the only way we’ll be able to have a writer’s “To-Do” list that is effective.
[This is an excerpt from More Writer's First Aid. It will be out in paperback tomorrow, March 22.]
March 11, 2011
I just finished Jordan Rosenfeld’s eight-week online writing class called “Fiction’s Magic Ingredient.” She’s the author of that very helpful book Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time.
Here’s the class arrangement: there was material to read each week, then send-in assignments (usually two assignments ranging from 500 to 1000 words long) which Jordan critiqued and returned within a few days. We could write new material or apply the lessons to a work in progress (which I did). [More about the class below.]
When I first read through the exercises Jordan wanted us to do, I tried them out in my head, and they sounded easy. On paper, though, it was a different story!
The Rubber Meets the Road
Heather Sellers (in Chapter After Chapter) remarked on this phenomenon. “A failing we writers have is that we confuse the voices in our heads with writing; we tend to do exercises in our heads because thinking and writing feel so closely related…What’s in your head does not count, not for sculpture, not for book writing. Pencil on paper is what matters.”
The work we all did for Jordan’s class reminded me of such writing exercises. I often read the exercises and think I understand and will be able to whip it off in no time flat. Not so!
Even after revising each assignment several times, Jordan’s insightful critiques came back with more suggestions on how to take the concept further, go deeper, weed out the clichés, and much more. I felt challenged–and grateful that I got my money’s worth. I have gone on to apply the lessons to my novel this week.
I don’t mean to over-emphasize the money issue, but most of us need to get the most bang for our buck that we can. I was comparing the cost of Jordan’s class (I signed up early to get her discount) and was very pleased with what I received.
The material sent each week (5-6 single spaced pages) was new material, not excerpts from Jordan’s excellent Make a Scene book. The new material built on that. The amount of critiquing we received really surprised me. It was much more than you get at a writer’s conference where you pay extra for a faculty critique.
Last year I signed up and paid for (in advance) two writing conferences. The cost of each conference (not including hotel room or food) plus the personal critique (which was extra) was as much or more than Jordan’s online class–and you got much less for it, in my opinion.
The other thing I noticed was related to health and family issues. About the two conferences I signed up for last year: I had a family emergency during the first one and was running a fever the other time–and missed both conferences. (No money was refunded.)
During Jordan’s eight-week online class I was sick ten days, but my fever didn’t endanger any of my classmates. I could still work, bit by bit, on my assignments. I didn’t miss any critiques. I also dealt with and worked around two unexpected family needs. I loved the fact that I didn’t pay for something I had to forfeit in the end.
This experience has made me re-think my coming year and where to spend my time and small amount of conference money. I liked being able to use my novel-in-progress for the writing exercises, for one thing. It was a great way to combine the current novel revision with the class. (With the conference critiques, both manuscripts had to be submitted at least eight weeks before the conference. I’ve done this in past years, and by the time the conference rolled around, I had revised it several more times so the critique wasn’t very helpful.)
I’m sure there are online scam writing classes to watch out for, but if you decide to spend money on further writing study, you can’t go wrong with Jordan’s Fiction’s Magic Ingredient class. She has another class of Fiction Magic starting later in March and a “Revise for Publication” class starting in May.
March 7, 2011
I participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November three times, and twice I was able to meet the goal of writing 50,000 new words during the month. Hurrah!
Like many NaNoWriMo writers, though, I slumped after that. Twice, my rough draft of the novel I wrote languished on a disk, never to be seen again.
Like others, I could have used the push of an editing month or two to keep going. Until recently, I had no idea that such a program already existed.
This month I’m participating in National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo) to work on a mystery that hasn’t been going anywhere for six months. I got a good jumpstart in January and February with Jordan Rosenfeld’s eight-week class on Fiction Magic that just finished. I wanted to keep going, applying the new lessons I’d learned in her class to the novel.
Then I heard about NaNoEdMo that runs during the month of March. The challenge this month is to log in 50 hours of editing on a single novel. The rules say: Editing is defined as changing previously written material. Editing does not include writing a completely new novel. It does not include planning or researching. It does include anything from correcting the grammar and spelling to substantial rewriting of the novel.
My Own List
I wanted to make sure I actually spent 50 hours of time editing the novel–not just 50 hours at my desk doing writing tasks. So I made two lists of tasks: one list counts toward NaNoEdMo, and one set of tasks doesn’t (even if it includes writing).
Does not count:
- Writing this blog
- Answering email
- Posting and responding to comments
- Reading others’ blogs
- Reading writing articles online or in magazines or books
- Writing speeches and getting ready for conference talks
- Marketing of published books (including Facebook and Twitter posts)
- Actual revision of the novel (changing words, onscreen or on paper)
- Experimenting with changing order of scenes
- Applying my “Fiction Magic” new skills to the novel
I set up an Excel spreadsheet (which I definitely do NOT excel at) so that I could keep track of the writing time. I keep daily track–using a kitchen timer so I don’t over-estimate my time–of both the NaNoEdMo legitimate hours logged and all the other writing hours logged.
The first week I was stunned actually. I was being so very disciplined, getting to work in my office before 8:00 a.m. and sticking to my schedule. Many days I logged in seven or eight hours of writing and writing-related work accomplished. I’d be so pleased–until I did the breakdown so I could log in my hours on the NaNoEdMo website.
Nearly every day, even when I’d faithfully been in my office working all day, I could only log in 90 minutes of novel editing. Often it was less than an hour!
I’m so glad I did the spreadsheet breakdown, or I wouldn’t have believed it. Needless to say, I’m already behind on making it to the 50 hours of novel revision by March 31. But I’m still very hopeful. Armed with this knowledge, I plan to make changes.
Novel Writing First!
This week, before anything else, I’m going to do my three hours of novel editing. (In case you’re wondering, this blog is being written on Sunday night and set up to post by itself Monday morning. When this posts, I will be editing my novel!) For years I’ve been telling you to “do your writing first,” before cleaning or grocery shopping or TV watching.
I’m going to further suggest (strongly) that when you put your writing first, you also do the type of writing you love the most first. If you aspire to be a published picture book writer, do that writing first. If you want to write self-help books for teens, work on that first. Don’t get caught up in all the other writing tasks until you’ve given your best hours to your first love.
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