By Jen Parks, Bluegrass Writers Studio
Talk is cheap. Writing is hard work. And revision is even harder. I once read an author who stated that you couldn’t expect to wake up and go run a marathon without having trained for it. You need to wake up every day and put in the writer “miles.” Stephen King said in his book “On Writing,” if you “want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things . . . no shortcut." Indeed, many of the writers I’ve read about this semester, claim to have established writing regimens.
Looking back on my writing process prior to starting this program, I realized that I had a complete lack of any type of formal process or routine. I carried a notebook with me wherever I went, waiting for some “Ouija-like” inspiration to hit. Sometimes I would go days or even a couple of weeks without writing anything, without communicating with my characters or their story. The problem with this plan is that “waiting” is not “writing.”
What this program has done for me is that it has got me into the habit of writing nearly every day. I may not always be working on that novel, but I am writing something: a discussion board post, a blog post, a poem, a novel chapter, or a short story. What the process of writing something every day does for a writer, and certainly does for me, is that it is an exercise that flexes and tones the writing muscles and makes the process of transferring thoughts to paper – or to the computer – more like an easy run than running a marathon.
How, then, does this apply to me? How does a mother of three and a full-time nurse anesthetist find time to sit down at the computer every day? The answer, sadly, is that I don’t have that luxury. But just because I am not sitting down at the computer, I am still writing every day. I may only get a few minutes here and there, while on break or lunch, but not a day goes by that I am not writing or reading. I’ll jot down a few sentences on a torn-off piece from the operating room schedule or I’ll jot down a few words in my planner or on my phone. Then, whenever I can string together a few uninterrupted hours, I sit down at the computer with the scraps of paper and notes I’ve collected and type.
The takeaway message here is to keep writing, and to write every day. I’ve done a better job of not using the excuses of “tomorrow, tonight, or later” as often, but I could do better. My job, as King claims, is “to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day . . . If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up, chomping his cigar and making his magic."
Published on May 08, 2014