Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Writers Write Every Day

It's true.  Writing must become a habit if one is to consider herself a writer.  And many of them us write on a schedule of some kind.  So my Unit decided to put me on a writing schedule.

I have some free time right now.  I'm not doing back to back shows.  I did not have to prep my current classes from scratch (for the first time in over five years of teaching).  So I have the time, just not the discipline.

"If you're ever going to write a book," she says, "you gotta start writing now."  For some reason my Unit does not believe blogging counts.

So every Tuesday and Thursday (days I don't teach) from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. is now my "writing time."  We even wrote it on my calendar (which makes it official).  "You have to write for three hours and come up with at least two pages," she said.

Today was the first day.

I started off with ten minutes of freewriting.  Freewriting (as defined by Peter Elbow; link is to PDF file) is the first thing I tell my students to do when they are stuck or out of ideas or say "I don't know what to dooooooo!"  So I took my own advice.

During that ten minutes I realized that it was going to be nigh impossible to keep my office door shut during the entire three hours because Poe-Poe meowed and cried right outside my door the whole time.  I even saw his paw come underneath the door and wave around.  When the ten minutes was up, I opened the door.  He sat there quietly and innocently next to the dirty sock he had brought up from the basement for me.  (It was one of my hand-knitted socks, too; he spared no expense.)

The freewriting, in addition to helping me write down some of my fears (rather than having them living in my head), generated some new ideas, which it's supposed to do -- so yay, it works!

Then I wrote for approximately three hours -- minus potty breaks, a snack break, eating lunch, taking an important phone call, and letting Doogie outside.  I had my two-page minimum done by 11:30 a.m.  I announced that to my Unit, who almost let me stop, then she changed her mind.

"No.  You have to write for three hours, even if you already have two pages.  DO MORE!"

There were also some moments of just staring at the screen with either a cat or a dog on my lap, wondering where I would go next.  I had picked up a comedic horror short story parody thingie I had started a while ago.  I'm not pleased with all 4.5 pages I came up with, but I wrote them nonetheless.  Write first, edit (and criticize) later.

So, I felt a little bit accomplished by the time I was done.  I'm hoping this is the beginning of a new, productive habit so that I can be published while I'm still young enough to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

To pique your interest in my fiction writing, here is something I had to look up today for said short story:

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