Monday, January 12, 2015

Life After The Flu Or How to go back to writing after not....writing

So, the first full week of the new year saw me down with the flu after spending a week with family in southern Ohio. An aunt of mine had passed away and my Mom and I went down for her funeral. We spent some time after the funeral with my Mom's youngest sister. Her husband was sick and, of course, Mom and I became sick once we got home. We didn't have it as bad as my uncle did but it was bad enough to keep me, at least, doing a lot of sleeping to get over it.

I am better now but it has been a little over two weeks since I've written anything other than my last post here and one on my nail blog and some Facebook comments. Oh, I did do a little editing after realizing I had created a couple of major continuity issues with the first few scenes. I suppose I did do a bit of extra lines to continue a scene but for the most part, I haven't touched the book for a bit of time.

And no, I did not prepare a short story for the contest at Writer's Digest. Well, I could probably cut down something I already have written but I think my time would be better spent elsewhere now. They always have a contest of some sort going so I'll get another chance at a later time. For now, I'll be headed in a different direction.

I don't know about you but when I've been away from writing for a bit of time, I need to get reacquainted with the story and characters before I can continue on. That usually means skimming through from the beginning to reacquire the flavor of the piece. It also usually means I see places where changes are needed.

Today was to be the beginning of my copywriting course but I've learned that the live version starts at the end of the month and I would really prefer to do it live. The sessions will be updated and I just think the feedback would be better.

All of which means, I have another couple of weeks to work solely on the book. Time to get back into the habit of writing everyday. But how does one do that when one has been doing pretty much nothing but binge watching Falling Skies and playing Disciples 3: Reincarnation or Torchlight 2 or any one of the many games I have on my computer?


That word. That word! Oh, that word.

Yes, it takes discipline to stay the course when there's so many other things that are calling for my attention.

Discipline never has been one of my strongest abilities. I am very easily distracted by things shiny and otherwise. Imagine the dog from the movie 'Up' and you'll understand. There's always something else that I could be doing but not everything leads to the kind of productivity I need in order to make this full time writer thing work out financially. You have to have a finished project in order to sell said finished project.

So, it's back to daily writing for me. But not just writing. Not only should the writer practice the craft on a daily basis but the writer should also be open to continuing education relating to the craft. This means reading - not only books about writing but published works by successful and, dare I say it, not so successful authors.

If you own a Kindle or a Nook, you know there are a lot of books out there for free or cheap. Not all of them are good but I believe a writer should be reading the not so good as well as the good. For me, it's a lesson in how not to write. Of course, being a writer myself, it's hard these days to read as a reader. I'm constantly rewriting in my head what I'm reading in the way I would have written the story if it were mine. It's only when I'm reading something excellent that the writer in me can walk away and leave the reader alone - as is the case with what I'm currently reading, Watership Down by Richard Adams.

It also helps that I've bought the professional narration to go along with the book. I'm being read to as I'm reading and I'm finding it quite easy to forget I'm a writer while my mind imagines the scenes I'm hearing and reading. It's been a long time since I've read this book but it's still just as good as I remember. Mr. Adams writes so well that it's easy to imagine the action and become so immersed in the story that it feels quite real.

I have found in the past that if I'm reading while working on my own project, my writing tends to improve, especially if what I'm reading is an excellent example of good writing. Not that I adopt the bad writing from the books that are just plain not good. I learn from them as well. It doesn't matter how good or bad the reading is, the writer can always learn from it.

Which brings me back to that word - discipline. It takes discipline to stick to anything worthwhile. That includes daily writing, daily reading, daily exercise, daily you fill in the blank. For me, I'll apply the concept of discipline throughout the rest of this month to my book as well as both types of reading. By then, I should be so steeped in discipline that it will be easy to stick to the copywriting course schedule and complete those assignments on time.

It's back to 2000 words a day for me, regardless of what the days bring. More than likely I'll exceed that goal and will eventually increase it but for now, that's the goal. Writing in the morning, reading in the afternoon - sounds like a full day to me.

No comments: