I’ve written almost 20,000 words since the 24th of February. That’s fiction practice (writing exercises), part of short story, plus a number of blog entries. And all of it is self-motivated writing, not for clients, not for a contest, not for NaNoWriMo, just all for me, writing for the sake of writing.
This has never happened before. I’ve done lots of writing for one reason or another, but this kind of consistent, large scale writing-for-its-own-sake, has eluded me until now. At this point, the writing has just become a thing I do before I get to my other work for the day, and it’s all because of a couple of insights from the time management course I’m taking (Cairene MacDonald’s Foundations ).
The first was Cairene’s reminder that preparing for work was part of the work. It’s not an evil to get out of the way, it’s key, it’s foundational, it’s necessary. So any preparation I do ‘counts’ towards my work of the day. That freed me up to do my fiction practice, since I need practice to get better, and every word I write in practice will make my later ‘work’ words that much better. Practice will make the later work easier.
The second was my own realization, through Cairene’s exercises, that whenever I have been trying to work, and ended up stalling and procrastinating, I was actually dealing with the feeling that I *should* be doing something else. So, among other things, I wasn’t doing the writing I wanted to do because I *should* be doing other work. Yet, I wasn’t getting that done because of another layer of should. After some examination of the underlying shoulds, I realized that I need to do certain types of work at certain times of the day (routine tasks belong in the afternoon, for example), and that I need to start my day with my most satisfying tasks.
After that, my writing moved waaaay up my to do list and it has made a huge difference in my days. I have a few tiny routine tasks that I clear off my list immediately each morning, and then I dive into my writing for 30-45m. I don’t miss that time in my ‘real’ work at all. In fact, taking that time for my writing has seemed to create space for more tasks in the rest of my day.
I’ve spent a long time trying to fit my writing in and to find ways to make it somewhat automatic. If you have been reading this sporadic blog for any length of time, you know how often I have tried to establish a solid writing practice. This time, it makes more sense than ever and it has been easy, not a challenge, to fit the writing in. I have created my own motivations for getting words on the page, and it feels fantastic.
Of course, we’ll see how I feel about the whole thing when I get to editing that story I’m writing. 🙂