Have a little help from my friends

This summer I saw Scott Berkun again at a party. I asked about his latest writing project, and writing in general. As we talked, I felt he was taking me seriously as a writer, and it empowered me. It was a simple conversation, but I was a writer talking to a writer.

When I asked him how much time he spent writing in a day, I was surprised at the answer – only an hour and a half (or so) of creating new material. There is always research and revising, he said, but an hour and a half is about all the time he could tolerate being in a creative head space.

I can do an hour and a half. I had a picture in my mind of something totally different, but this actually makes sense. I get a little antsy myself after a awhile. I remember this from when I had a babysitter come once a week for three hours so I could write at a local wine bar – I always seemed to get burned out before my time was done.

I’m also motivated by a conversation I had last week with a writing friend to get organized and set some goals for the coming year. The ideas swirl in my head, overwhelming me. I need to get them out, to make them tangible.

I was excited to hear my friend talk about submitting her work to publications she’d researched. I was encouraged to hear her ideas for organizing and sorting all my essays. I was grateful that our conversation propelled me out of a writing funk.

The following goals are the direct result of those two conversations.

photo.jpgMake writing a priority. Up to this point my creative times were written in pencil. I’d block out writing time on my calendar, but override it if I needed to make a dentist appointment or get the bookkeeping done. It’s as if I feel guilty for taking time to write, thinking I should be doing something more “productive.” This goal requires organization (to make sure there isn’t something else I should be doing), a mind shift (to take myself seriously), and support from Bryan (which I have).

Write a little every day. My schedule allows for this now, as long as I stay on top of my other responsibilities running the household. If I manage my time unwisely, I will not be able to accomplish this. Must. Stay. Disciplined.

Chart my writing projects. Most of the time I sit down at my computer and can’t remember why I’m here. I get stage fright. I stare and wrack my brain, and I can’t think of a single thing to work on. Then? While driving in the car or making dinner while the kids crawl up my leg it comes to me exactly what I should have been writing during that quiet two hours.

Submit. Submit. Submit. When I came home from BlogHer I was on fire to get my stuff out there, but I delayed too long and eventually lost my momentum. I feared rejection. I made excuses of time. Blah blah blah. I’ve targeted five organizations I want to submit essays to, and will devote some office time to researching them, finding out their submission requirements, and writing something suitable.

There it is. I’m very excited and starting to feel motivated again.

2 thoughts on “Have a little help from my friends”

  1. and once again I wish we could be real live friends!
    I am walking this same exact road right now — toying with this writing “thing”. You’re further along in your confidence in making it a priority. Thank you for the encouragement, cyber-friend.
    Oh, and here’s a question I’m trying to figure out:
    With a limited amount of “alone time” available how do I merge the requirements on those time — disciplines of creating AND disciplines of study, prayer, etc. PLUS the disciplines required in nurturing key relationships (community)??
    I suspect there’s not an answer to this, just a messy living it out and I just need to start doing it. BUT, if you have any insight I’d sure love to hear it. Thanks!

  2. I have to admit, the discipline of study suffers as I more deeply pursue my own thing. BUT – reading the word always always always triggers more writing, so I’m trying find that balance. I’m now in a women’s Bible study and we’re reading through the Psalms – this has been a great inspiration for me both spiritually and creatively. It’s a great match.

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