Monday, December 11, 2017

Believing Your Own Lies

Short Fiction - 0
Long Fiction - 0
Poetry - yes
Total Words -
Paragraphs of Notes - 5

I had every intention of getting some writing in last week, but all I have to show for my time is a bunch of emails, a few notes, and a hand-written poem. Well, that and a decorated Christmas tree and over half my Christmas shopping done.

What can I say? The spirit was willing but the body was just too darned worn out. And it didn’t help that last week was pretty grey and dismal (and windy!) for the most part. But no snow yet. They’re promising some for this week, and it’s certainly cold enough for it, but I’m not holding my breath.

I don’t know if anyone else who’s done NaNo has noticed, but once November is over and you can breathe a sigh of relief, suddenly Christmas is staring you right in the face. So all those good writing habits you’ve developed over the month fall by the wayside in the holiday rush.

Let’s face it, as much as we’d like to do everything, we just can’t. There are presents to buy, and wrap; trees and houses to decorate; baking to be done...and if you’ve got kids you’ve got them to deal with too. And let’s not forget all the social obligations the holidays bring.

Something’s gotta give, and unless you’re a full time writer who supports their family with their writing, writing’s usually the easiest thing to put off. There’s always tomorrow. Or next month. But the thing is, like most things the more you put it off the harder it is to get back into again. Last year I felt justified in ignoring my writing in December - after all, I’d just written a 50,000 word novel - but when January rolled around I found my pen had dried up. And the dry spell lasted for months.

The solution may seem obvious, just don’t stop writing, but for a lot of us it’s easier said than done. NaNo got us used to writing big blocks of words every day. Big blocks of time alone aren’t easy to find this time of year, unless you’re very, very lucky.

I propose we try for smaller blocks of time. Instead of an hour for writing, try 15 minutes. Instead of 1,000 words a day, try 100 and if you’re able to do more, so much the better. The thing is, even 100 words a day is still 100 more than you had before. And even 100 words a day will start to add up.

I do my serious writing sitting at my lap top, which is a little unhandy when it comes to just adding a few words here and there, so I carry a notebook and pen with me. I’ve written entire stories in notebooks, but I also write poetry or make notes to continue in a WIP. Some people are able to use their phones or a tablet to write on, and that’s great - five minutes here, five minutes there, and before you know it you’ve got your hundred words in.

The thing is, you want to at least keep a toe in the water. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can keep putting it off for tomorrow, or next week, or after the holidays are over. Because once you start believing your own lies - justifying not writing - you’re going to have a real struggle to get back into the writing frame of mind.

Trust me, I know.

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