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What it takes

December 19, 2006

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on writing in general. If you’ve not interested is ever taking a crack at writing, but are curious what I/we go through, then read on. Been toying with the idea of writing something with dreams of getting published? Then pay attention.

This topic is prompted mostly by the fact that I’m looking at December and asking myself what I’ve accomplished. Not a lot. Granted we’re heading full steam ahead into the holiday season, so I could blame my lack of productivity on that. But to be fair to myself I need to take a closer look at that instead of just sweeping it under the carpet and pretend nothing could have been helped.

Not true.

Sure there were cookies to be burned, gifts to be bought, arguments over what to buy and how much to spend, but I can say that I still should have written more than three chapters this month. Yep, that’s it. Three whole freakin chapters. I did get some editing in here and there, tightened up stuff, but for sitting at the 18th of the month, this isn’t good. For a lot of people it might be plenty. Not to me. I don’t work outside the home (and yes am I aware that raising kids is a 24-7 job to begin with) but I don’t work elsewhere all day and then have to come home and try to cram all the stuff I can (but don’t always) do throughout the daytime hours into my evenings.

My nights I leave for writing. And you see, I’m a prolific writer. If I’m feeling the stories and characters strongly and I know where the story is headed (barring those little plot holes that leave me stumped for hours on end), I could crank out a 75,000 word book in a month. Of course that would be draft, but still it doesn’t take me long to edit either since I actually like that part of the writing process.

So why have’t I written 75k this month, hell why haven’t I written 35k this month. It all comes down to dedication. This is HUGE if you’re planning on testing the world of romance writing from an author’s prespective. It takes loads of dedication to pursue a writing career (assuming you want a full time paying career at some point) and this month, even for a good part of November I just haven’t been that dedicated. And I have the whopping three chapters to prove it.

Do you have what it takes to be dedicated? This is something you need to take a good hard look at, espeically since there are no work arounds, no easy solutions. Either you’re going to be dedicated to making those dreams come true, or you’re not. It’s really what separates all the people from dreaming about doing something and those who accomplish it. It’s a matter of how bad do you want it. If you’ve been under the impression writing a book is a cake walk. please go on and try it, and prove me wrong. *g* Make sure you e-mail me all about it too.

Writing is a frustrating, sometimes stressful, obsessive-complusive balancing act on a tight rope stretched across the Atlantic. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I’m not frustrated, stressed and being obssessive-complusive, I love it. Absolutely LOVE it. Otherwise it wouldn’t be worth the turmoil. Oddly enough, the more dedicated I am, the more rewarding days there are. I’m getting off tangent a bit, but bear with me. Ever have those days where you start off tidying in one room, head off to another to put something away, stop to straighten up something in that room, walk to the kitchen to put some dishes in the sink, wind up starting to sweep the floor only to stop to throw another load of laundry in… and on it goes. Little stuff gets done in every room, but you still feel like you didn’t get a thing done at the end of the day. What happens if when you started, you stayed dedicated to that one room? Well the rest of the house might still need some tidying later, but one room is damn immaculate.

It’s the difference between writing three pages, getting one webpage updated, maybe a blog post in and hour of random internet surfing, than sitting and writing 5k in a night.

When I first started writing I absorbed every article I could. I still have tons printed off and stuck in binders. But the one tip that I saw everywhere (that took me a while to really, truly grasp)was the most important one, even if I still have days where I forget it.

Just write.

That’s it. It’s about the writing. But in case you’ve haven’t realized, you have to be dedicated TO write. It’s about sacrificing an hour (or three) of sleep. Of reading less books, skipping a favorite t.v show (okay, tapping it). It’s about letting those dust bunnies sometimes take over now and then (this is probably the easiest one to give over to). It’s about knowing that sometimes people (even the ones who are often the most supportive) aren’t going to always understand why you do what you do, but as long as you keep writing, its okay. It’s about driving yourself crazy trying to finish a chapter, knowing you need to start on that proposal your editor has been waiting for, finish updating your website, or work on some teasers and promo for that release that snuck up on you. It’s about being dedicated to starting that book AND finishing it. It’s about pushing through a scene even though you’d rather shape your nails by raking them down a chalkboard for hours.

Dedication is a scary thing. It can get the better of you. You think you have it under control, that you’re the master of your domain (not the Seinfeld kind *g*) only to pull your head out of the sand and realize you’ve written 3 chapters when you could have written fifteen if only you were a little more dedicated.

But like anything else, sometimes its hard to miss the signs that you’re losing your way. That you’ve forgotten the best way to get anything done is to settle in stick with it, even when, especially when, you’d rather be doing anything else.

I was complaining about this to my husband, still whining about how undedicated I’ve been, (when I could have had the next five pages on my WIP done). And he reminded me (and not for the first time) that a writing career is like a job. Yes, I get the perks of being able to work in my PJ’s if I want. But I still have to work. I still have to put in the hours. If I was working outiside the house, just cause I’d rather surf the web instead of working, doesn’t mean I could. You have to be dedicated to showing up, putting the time in, and not slacking off just because a call center rep called and letting them ramble on for an hour about the perks of another insurance provider is less painful than making a stubborn character listen to you.

So if you still think you’ve got what it takes, if you’re prepared to be dedicated about writing , then go sit your ass down and be productive.

Or at the very least blog about it. *g*

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