How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs... and How to Avoid Them

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Consistency is Key

Years ago, my doctor prescribed consistency as the key to unlocking the power of exercise. Even if it's just 10 minutes a day. I find the more I think about walking and/or running, the more I want to do it and therefore the more often it happens. Or rather, I actually put forth the effort to make it happen.

Same thing with writing. After 10 years of virtually not writing, I am now WILD about it, more than I ever was before. I keep telling myself if I could just get up early and run, then eat, etc. and then write for an hour before getting the kids up, all would be well. But alas, this is not so. And probably never will be. As I am generally one type of morning person (I am CHEERFUL, awake and alert in the A.M.) but I am not the other type of A.M.-er (one who arises before the sun and sets out to accomplish many a goal before tackling everyday life - though I greatly admire those that can do this), I like to sleep in and take my time in the morning. I sacrifice my treadmill time to sleep in an extra 30 minutes because I sacrifice my P.M. sleep time to write for a couple extra hours. It's a vicious cycle. I say, "Why don't I have a consistent schedule?"

It just dawned on me today that I do, at least a little. I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go. I jot down phrases and thoughts whenever they strike. I write on the go. Whenever I have something that starts to gel and is becoming a bit more solidified, I transfer the rough draft to electronic form via typing on a keyboard at my computer. It's the notebook time that I have more of a schedule with. When I get to the computer stage, I am one of those that can't give the boot to the distractions of the net. But it's all writing-related, I justify. But I'm still not writing. But reading is important too, my psyche whines back. So, as I struggle with my computer schedule, I will pat myself on the back for the following notebook schedule:

Once a week on Gymnastics day: 1 hour of writing time.
5x a week with a 30-minute lunch: After scarfing down a frozen burrito and a fruit, I might get 10-20 minutes of scribble time.
Twice a week: 1 hour to write in between two part-time jobs.
TOTALING: about 4 to 4.5 hours!

And computer time:
Evening tube time: 10-110 minutes of semi-computer time as I half-monitor 2 children and their active play while they bounce from activity to activity in front of their favorite shows such as Looney Tunes and The Pink Panther.
After bedtime (Mon.-Thur.): Anywhere from 1-4 hours, which includes reading, blogging, writing, editing, marketing, etc.
TOTALING: about 10-20 hours!

(I should have a novel published or something with that much time, right?)

It's never enough time. I always find myself not wanting to quit and always anxious to start back up, though I may not feel like I have anything intelligent to say. If only I could write FULL TIME... And one day, I'll be able to. Because I'm consistent about it now. Not perfect, but every little chunk adds up. Just like the doctor said, "even if it's just for 10 minutes."

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I feel like you are describing me! I like the idea of just squeezing in smaller segments of time whenever you can. I finally got myself to realize that running 2 miles is better than running no miles, so the same should be true of writing.

    The Internet is my downfall. I'm addicted to Facebook, Twitter, my Google Reader, etc. Okay, so now off to write....

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  3. I feel like you are describing me! I like the idea of just squeezing in smaller segments of time whenever you can. I finally got myself to realize that running 2 miles is better than running no miles, so the same should be true of writing.

    The Internet is my downfall. I'm addicted to Facebook, Twitter, my Google Reader, etc. Okay, so now off to write....

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm so glad I could connect with someone. Heck, I'm glad I got a comment at all, my FIRST one! The Internet is my downfall, too. But not for "networking" sites. I read about writing on CBI, Writers First Aid (Kristi Holl's blog), ICL, and do general research for ideas I have. Thanks for the comment. And now...I am also off to write!

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