Some years ago my husband told me that if I wanted to make it in the writing world then I’d have to push myself to work hard at it. People go to work every day. He was sure it was the same with successful authors. My sporadic attempts at writing hadn’t gotten my anywhere so, when my friend HL Henrikson showed me a link to Nephele Tempest’s blog in 2012, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to try out daily writing. The post in question was a challenge to writers everywhere to write every day. March Madness or something like that. But I had to sit down and write for at least 15 minutes…
Every. Single. Day.
And if I wasn’t writing the actual story, then I should be researching something about it or writing ideas for it. Anything connected to the story to keep the imagination going. Strengthen the creative muscles.
Did it work? Yes, it did. Life allowed me the time every day, even if it was just the minimum 15 minutes. I soared! It was amazing! Some days I felt like I was struggling through a bog of tar. Other days I zoomed along like a starfighter in hyperdrive (or a starship at warp speed for the Trekkies). But most days I would slog along the first 15 minutes and then find a comfortable groove for another 1-2 hours.
The manuscript done, I went back and edited. Repeat as necessary.
I no longer write every day. You know what? It’s super difficult to sit down and write again. Once more I’m slogging through a tar pit. I might as well be one of the mastedons in La Brea.
The “muse” seems to be a muscle like any other in the human body. You need to exercise it in order to make it stronger. If successful writers only wrote when their muse spoke to them, they might spend many years writing nothing.
You may not like it. You may groan or argue that what I’m saying is merely a tactic that works for me but won’t necessarily work for everyone so you’re going to keep going the way you’re going. But I highly suggest you try it. Just for a month, try it. Nephele has a December writing challenge going on right now. Even though I’m a few days late, I’m going to try it. Anything is better than nothing and there is no winner or loser. If you’ve tried to write every day, you’ve won. If you haven’t, it’s your loss. Maybe try again another month. Remember, 15 minutes is not a very long time. I think nearly everyone has 15 minutes of free time somewhere in their day.