For Writers: Unanticipated Benefit

I did it. Not every day, but enough days to know I can keep doing it.

I wrote 5,000 words in a single day. And it wasn’t that hard, and my hands didn’t feel numb with overuse, and I wasn’t exhausted.

It really is a choice. A choice to spend breaks thinking about the story, writing notes about the story, stretching my body, and meditating for a moment or two rather than winding myself up on social media.

During my vacation, I bought four books on writing. With shelves full of writing books, some only partially read, it wouldn’t seem that I need another, much less four. But I did it because in 2019 I want to shift my focus off book marketing and sales and social media and back to what I love — writing fiction. The books are symbolic of where I want my attention.

How about picking up a book instead of my phone inner writer self?? What a concept.

Three of the books are on the craft of writing. After twenty novels, twelve novellas, and more short fiction than I can count, I don’t want to get complacent and think I’ve learned it all. I want to get better. If readers are gripped, I want to grip them more tightly. If they’re lost in the story, I want to pull them in deeper.

One of the books, Daily Rituals, is a collection of very short pieces on how well-known writers, artists, and composers Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get To Work. It seemed appropriate in this year of schedule changes and striving to get to work writing 5,000 words on the days my hours belong entirely to me.

First, I have to finish reading By The Book — a collection of author interviews from the New York Times Book Review. I was given this book for Christmas. (In 2016!!) The fact I’m still reading it speaks to my procrastination and prioritizing the gluttonous use of social media over reading more than 280 characters at a time.

So, an adventurous year of reading and writing waits for me. It’s finally sunk into my thick skull — focus and taming procrastination make the difference between a day when I fall into bed feeling content and a day when I wonder at how I’m living my life.

What’s the unintended benefit? The novel I’m working on is more prominent in my thoughts throughout the day. The threads of it are more clear in my mind because I’m immersed for longer periods of time. As a result, the revision process is going to be a whole lot less frustrating!

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