I read a blog post today by Jane Lindskold (on the tor.com website) which laid out for me in no uncertain terms what it is I seem to be doing wrong.
Here it is in a nutshell:
Life seems to nibble away at writing time. [...] But no matter how drawn I am to these other things, I write. When I had another full-time job, I wrote seven days a week.And the kicker:
Remember Decision Number One: Writing Gets Priority?Every good writing tip I've ever had has revolved somehow around the instruction to write something every day. But there is a fundamental difference between writing something non-fiction like this blog, and the sort of fiction that I also enjoy writing and which I aspire to in a career-like fashion. Basically, a daily post to Freshly Ground just doesn't count towards what I need to be doing in terms of writing my next fantasy novel.
By that I mean fiction writing. Not letters or grocery lists or even, as much fun as this can be, blogs.
On top of that, I have an awful lot of research still to do before I can nail down my agent-publisher strategy, and of course none of that counts as writing either. Sadly.
But don't despair. Freshly Ground shall continue on in the haphazard manner that it always has; I enjoy showing off my culinary skills and having a whinge about politics now and again too much to let it fall by the wayside. What I must do is resolve to not finish a day unless I have written something of a fiction nature. Either that, or to know that I've worked on revising something which I've started. Poetry too will be OK, since it bridges the divide between fiction and non.
Jane's post has reminded me of something I used to do, way back when I was still planning my first novel and before I started the second draft on the computer:
I decided to pursue fiction writing longhand. Sometimes I simply carried a folded sheet of paper in my pocket.I have a pile of notebooks that I used to carry around in one pocket, full of story ideas, notes on my novel, short poems, concepts for plays and games, not to mention (surprisingly) recipes. I no longer carry a notebook in my pocket at all times. I have evolved to a cold and heartless diary, full of times and places and notes about things.
This changes right now.
At least a couple of years ago, I was given a small book as a gift, made of handcrafted mahaguthi paper from Nepal (thanks Nan). I've never used it, as I felt it was too beautiful a piece of work to become scuffed and smudged and marked with the passage of many pockets and bags. Now I look at it and think this is too beautiful a piece of work to languish in a cupboard. Better it be filled with broken ramblings and half-finished stories than to lie buried in the dark for another count of years.
So now I have two things: A book to write in, and a commitment to write in it. Every day.