Hello, everyone! Do you ever have those days where things just seem to kind of fall into place, and the world around you looks a bit sharper than it did the day before? Almost as if a veil has been lifted from around your mind as it springs awake with renewed clarity?
Well, as few and far between as those days seem to be, I'm having one today. And with this clarity I've figured out a bit of personal writing wisdom that I've recently picked up along the way. One of my supportive new Twitter friends, @constantvoice, invited me to participate in a writing group called the Monthly Twitter Writing Challenge. They were already a few weeks into the #MayWritingChallenge, but I was welcomed with open arms. I diligently wrote every day for the remainder of May, logging at least 500 words each day as is the committment.
This simple experience was profound for me in a couple of ways:
One, it reinforced what I already knew to be true — daily habit is key to writing success. You need to be consistent in your pursuits, and even though the inspiration is not always going to come soaring from within and then flying out from your fingertips, just the very act of writing itself, every single day, is what creates a stable writing life. You are not always going to be thrilled with what you produce, but there is still a feeling of accomplishment for having done it at all, especially when it feels difficult or otherwise challenging.
Two, that little devil that sits on one shoulder whispering in your ear that everything you do needs to be perfect all but disappears. With a realistic goal of 500 words per day, I was able to tell myself that I can turn crap into gold if I need to during the editing process, but in order to get to the editing process, I have to finish the first draft. Finishing is all about producing consistently, regardless of quality. 500 words, which translates to about two pages of a book, is not difficult to achieve by any means, even on the worst of writing days — most days I'm able to surpass this goal.
And, finally, when I calculated what a writer would be able to achieve with even just a minimal word count such as 500 per day, well, my logical mind loved the outcome. 500 words per day X 180 days (6 months) = 90,000 words. That's a whole novel's worth!
That final conclusion turned my initially unrealistic goals when I set out to write my first novel (that will be for a different blog post — HA!) into stable, achievable ones. It means that I can even continue to write while working full-time and still complete another manuscript within a reasonable amount of time. Fortunately, I'm almost finished with the first draft of Cherry Lane, which is super exciting in and of itself. But I like this writing life. It speaks to me. It's something I intend to pursue passionately, in realistic ways, for the rest of my days.
Bring on the #JuneWritingChallenge, and cheers to all of the supportive participants in this writing community that are along for the ride!