What works. And what doesn’t.

 (Originally posted February 2013)
By the title, I mean what works for me, as a writer. What gets my creativity flowing, what keeps me motivated, what gets me actually WRITING.

But first, let me share what doesn’t work, or what hasn’t worked to date:

“I’m going to write every day, rain or shine!”

You see, that’s all good in theory, but life sometimes gets in the way. When you are short on free time and have other things going on, life gets in the way a lot. And when I kept NOT writing every day, I would inevitably wind up feeling guilty.

“I’m going to get an agent by (insert date here)!”

And when it didn’t happen it led to disappointment, crushingly so. Because I was disappointed in myself for not writing more frequently and getting stuff finished sooner (see above). The truth is, it will happen when it happens. Hopefully soon!

“I’m going to get up early and write at 6am and pretend it’s like a ‘real job'”

This hasn’t worked for one major reason. I hate mornings. I like sleeping in. And I know I’m the only reason to make myself get up early. There may very well be a day when I am required to again rise at an early hour, as I did in previous years for jobs, but now isn’t one of them. And besides, I don’t work well right away in the morning on account of the crankiness.

“I’m going to keep working on this project if it kills me!”

Which turns into staring at a blank page, or just writing crap.

And now for what does work for me. It’s simple, really. I write once a week, sometimes more. I have a set day where I get about 2 hours of time to myself and “real life” stuff takes a break for awhile. I get out of the house. Sometimes I can and do write from home, but often I find myself distracted by all the other things that need doing- like laundry, or dishes, or any other household task. So, in order to get the writing on the page, I leave my home and go to coffee shops or restaurants and I do not give in to the free WIFI so that’s one less distraction. I have a routine, and I like it. Mostly, I write late at night, after the house is quiet. When I’m stuck, I move on to something else. I, write a poem, a short story, anything. And in just a few weeks of this routine I met my goal of completing my final edits, something that took me months to do while doing all the stuff that didn’t work from above.

If you are struggling to find out who you are as a writer, try something else. Some people love order and are disciplined enough to write every day. They also may have more time for that than others. What matters is quality, and passion, and that you are doing what you love in a way you love to do it.

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