Knowing the path, and walking the path

Matrix, frog in lotus in a tunnelThe internet and blogosphere is full of great (really great) writing advice. Countless published authors offer their top tips for successful writing and muse on their own writing journeys – literary mana for aspiring writers like me. I read to find similarities, little nuggets of wisdom I could apply to my situation or to remind myself that the great masters are prone to the same distractions as beginners. My twitter feed and blogroll is full of them.

I have become the eternal disciple; endlessly seeking enlightenment; never quite reaching nirvana. Reading and nodding my head, “tell me more O wise one…” What I have, actually, found is a new way to procrastinate. If I were to add this to my ‘writing road’ analogy it would be graffiti scrawled on the tunnel walls (pretty good graffiti!).

No matter how cosy and safe it is here in my tunnel, I know it’s time to stop dreaming and face reality. My focus has to be; the light at the end rather than the darkness within; outside exposed to the elements rather than hiding away unseen in a cosy corner.

I have also developed various rituals I ‘need’ to go through to get to the magic writing place – purging my inboxes, twitter, checking/making blog comments, laundry, planning dinner…

Have I written enough to have this many bad habits?

The short answer is no.

In the last few days I stopped reading quite so much; quit my email application as soon as the inboxes were cleared; bookmarked twitter links to read later and added 2500(ish) words to my novel and wrote this blog. Ta da!

However, I believe reading about others success stories and journeys to success provides me with positive affirmations helping me to my end goal – but only when appropriate. I have a daily target of 500 words, which means that by May I should have a full first draft of my book. Add to that the writing weekend given to me by my darling husband and I might be done sooner.

After completing the first draft I will reward myself by painting a picture of smallest child (to sit next to the one I have of eldest child). I’ll also get a chance to pen the short story ideas I’ve been saving up.

I have a target, I have a plan and a yummy carrot dangling at the end. I’m not in the light yet but I have sunglasses, umbrella and kagool (an essential piece of nerd equipment) ready for the great outdoors.

TITLE: Quote from the inimitable Morpheus, The Matrix (one of the best movies EVER made).
IMAGE: The Matrix, a tunnel and a frog. The frog is in lotus position, I don’t know why I used it other than I thought he was so damned cute I couldn’t leave him alone.

7 thoughts on “Knowing the path, and walking the path

  1. Something that I do is set goals with rewards. I finish a specific page amount, word amount, or outline a certain amount of chapters then I take a 5-10 minute break to wander internet articles or do something else. The reward helps me focus and the break actually helps me to recharge my energy for the next round. Though, it doesn’t work for everybody because I have one friend who tries it and she simply wanders off for the day then complains about not getting anything done. I guess this advice should come with a ‘Beware of Juicy Breaks’ warning.

    • Seriously?! 5-10 minutes? I’m amazed by your discipline – I could do with some of that. What I’ve found works for me is mother, house and admin jobs before noon then two hours of writing before school pick up with research and reading in the evening. It usually works. Today I have failed because I opened my laptop at 10am and now I’m doing this. I find it hard to break away because I enjoy it more than the other jobs on my list.

      • It’s more obsession than discipline. Even if I’m not writing, I’m always thinking about my ideas. A friend once said I might not be the best writer he’s ever met, but I’m the most prolific. Guess it’s a compliment. The fact that I’m unemployed and taking on the role of house-husband helps.

        It really comes down to strict day planning. I do the house cleaning over the weekend and I put my wife in charge of the ‘admin’ stuff since she keeps forgetting to tell me financial things anyway. My son is more into playing with his toys without help nowadays, so I get to sit nearby writing until he deems me worthy of his toddler-y attention. Typically, this is him making a mess to get me closer to the ground, so he can climb onto my back for a piggy-back ride.

  2. When it comes to personal writing very little research or inspiration (from the outside) is even required. Knowing others peoples stories can be great but it can also just become fuel for more self judgement.

    I guess it’s building the love of the medium and being absorbed by the story and the experience of writing that may pull us through and help us become more productive and creative. Make us attracted to that inner story more than the shiny things.

    Great piece, and a very insightful walk through this dilemma that writers face in the digital age.

    • You’re absolutely right. I have become more absorbed in the story I’m writing and more productive because I have put that extra information to one side. (Also the reason for my late response! sorry). I like “shiny things”, hits the mark with me! I’m fascinated with the evolution of technology from asteroid mining to DNA coding/recoding – really pulls me in. I’m an addict, I’ve recognised my problem and now I need to deal with it!

      I’ve promised myself that I will keep in touch with what is going on around me to a point and only research at relevant points in my writing. It’s working so far…

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