Wednesday, February 1, 2012

From the Editor: Staying in the Game

Wow – we’re already a month into 2012! I hope you’ve been immersed in an exciting new writing project, or making headway on one you’ve been struggling with.

Even though I have projects in both of those categories, I can’t say there’s been much progress on either of them. Devoting energy and cranial space to college and a new job left me with little time to write fiction. Now that my brain is beginning to regenerate burned-out cells, story ideas are surfacing, plots are twisting, and characters are growing.

Here are five ways to stay in the writing game even when time and motivation are at a premium:

1.  Keep reading.  Writers love to read; that’s usually what gets us into writing in the first place. We read to escape real life, but we can also learn from other authors while we’re enjoying a novel. Read books in the genres you like to write. Read books from different genres to shake things up and see a different method of storytelling. Read books on craft. Just keep reading.

2.  Stay connected.  Time constraints kept me from attending most of last year’s PPW events, but I stayed connected to fellow writers via the Pikes Peak Writers’ Yahoo discussion loop, the PPW web site, and this blog. These connections kept the motivational fires stoked and the writing dream alive until I could return to my projects.

3.  Be realistic. “Write every day” is the best single piece of writing advice out there. But when I started back to school, I knew that fiction writing would take a back seat to academics simply because I know my limitations. So I gave myself permission to take a break from writing – and not feel guilty about it.

4.  Write when you can.  Just because I was on a self-imposed break doesn’t mean I didn’t write at all. I wrote what I could, even if it was only a sentence or some notes on a character. (Keeping a notebook and pen handy at all times helps.) I also continued my blog, posting once or twice a week to keep my writing muscles in shape.

5.  Never give up.  Life is unpredictable and often requires a readjustment of priorities. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever write again. Keep percolating your story ideas, do what you can when you can, and believe in your dream. It’s yours for the taking.

For more tips on writing through life’s ups and downs, check out these posts:

Robin Widmar
Managing Editor, Writing from the Peak