Staying committed to this writing craft is one of the hardest things to do. It shouldn’t be, because it’s all passion and inspiration and “the thing that drives you” and all that. At least it’s supposed to be. But it’s also a long-arc game that requires patience and perseverance. Especially if the writing winds up coming second to your other responsibilities. Even when in your heart it comes first, it still comes second.
That said, I printed off some blank calendar sheets earlier this year. March or April. And every time I write, I get to put a “W” on that day of the calendar. I told myself the “W” is earned after at least 60 minutes. Then relaxed it to 30. I can’t go any lower than that. Except for those rare exceptions where 10 or 15 minutes really did produce something so much better than the previous night’s hour-long crap-fest. But that’s helped. More so than some chart, it’s been helpful to have these sheets laid out on the table, or stuck up on the refrigerator; the idea being that it’s visual and honest and everyone can see it. Getting involved in an online writing group has helped a lot, too. (Jib Writers: thank you.)
The bad news: that all of this still feels a million years away. That every time I sit down, the words go nowhere. That I’ll be stuck making this wish forever.
The good news: I know that none of that is true. I’m sitting down and doing this writing thing pretty consistently. I’m reaching out to other aspiring writers. I’m reading a lot. And I feel like maybe (just maybe) I’ll have something in print soon. Hell, John (whom I’ve always thought of as one of my harshest critics) thinks that I’ve got a short story that is (in its current state) worth putting out for publication.
Finding the right market is probably going to be the hardest part there.
Which brings me to my new strategy. Novels take a long time — to write, to place, to publish… And though I have no intention of giving up on these grandiose projects of mine, I have also tried to focus in on shorter pieces. I wouldn’t say that I’m reinventing myself (there wasn’t much invention in the first place) but after what feels like a decade of stabbing blindly in the novelist’s dark, there seems to be another path worth taking. More of a supplementary path anyway.
Wish me luck.