img_2912Let’s Move Beyond Word Counts!

Yes, okay, I will admit: I check my word count totals ALL THE TIME.

Yes, I am trying to hit approximately 90 000 words.
So, yes, I do have a word count goal in mind…

But word counts are not really what is all about for me this year.

In 2018, these are my writing mantras. I put them forth for your consideration.

  1. SHOW UP
    Here’s a fact universally acknowledged: If you don’t show up to write then no writing will get done.

You have to show up for yourself in order to write.

There is no ‘boss’ asking you to do this. No one but yourself is asking you to do this.

You are your boss.

And your inner boss says: show up for work.

I’m not saying this needs to be a daily practice…but it does need to be a consistent and fairly regular one.

In my adult life, I have always been—out of necessity— a ‘writing on the run’ kinda gal. Writing happens in small increments—but it still happens fairly often. Somehow I wrote a novel in a year and a half using google discs on my phone.

I have 30 minutes while the kids take swimming lesson? Sweet! Let’s write!

Oh, I have ten minutes before I need to leave for work? Sweet! Let’s write!

Small gains over time equals a big gain in the long run.

All because I keep showing up.

So, in 2018: show up and keep showing up.

But it’s not enough just to show up in your writing chair (metaphorical or literal).

You actually have to do the work.

That means doing what needs to be done, and not just the fun stuff! That means:

  • -being gleefully creative (that’s the easy one to do)
  • putting your ideas down, even if they feel unrealized and awkward
  • working through heavy emotional stuff
  • going where characters lead you
  • honouring your writer’s instinct to drop/start/continue a project
  • editing even when tedious
  • sending work out, even if it scares you
  • and so on!

No point showing up if you don’t do the work. They kind of go hand in hand.

So, in 2018: do the work.

If you say you are a writer then you need to write. There is no other way to be a writer.

All the time I tell people. I’m writing a novel! I’m writing blogs! Hey did you know I am a writer?

I AM A WRITER is a tee shirt I wear.

Actually, this is the tee shirt:

By telling everyone I AM A WRITER it, I

  1. own it for myself
  2. publicly claim it as my identity and
  3. make an implied promise to myself and others that I am a writer, a person who writes.

Which means I had better write. I had better do as I say.

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t opened my big mouth and told everyone about this part of my identity.

Sometimes I wish I had kept this part hidden until–suddenly– I am ‘successful’ and I can say, hey, guess what, all those years I was secretly writing! And now my successful book is out!

That way I wouldn’t have to share the embarrassing bits that happen along the way, those fun about being rejected and trying and failing and struggling and having to admit it isn’t working out and also, maybe, might never work out in that way.

But that feels like it would be

  1. a lonely road
  2. like cheating myself.

I’d much rather be honest about my reality, and show how I am walking the walk, all the way to the end of the line…

But, also, by the way, there is no end of the line as a writer…we are ALWAYS WORKING ON SOMETHING. There is no singular finish line. That’s a myth!

You finish one project, start another. And on it goes.

So, in 2018: walk the walk AND walk the talk.

Say you are a writer and then write.

I wrote about this the other day.

This is the really challenging one for me.

I am not that good at the ‘self promotion’ bit.

Oh, I’m better at it. And of course I want readers.

I write to communicate, after all.

But I will admit to a little, ahem, half heartedness in this area.

In fact, at the end of 2017, I had to take a closer look at such heady inner workings as ‘self doubt’ and ‘self-sabotage’ and ‘perfectionism’ and fun things like that.

Basically it came down to this: I am uncomfortable and somewhat afraid of being bold.

Sometimes I can do it. In other areas of my life, I am better at it.

But as a writer? YIKES.

However, I am adding this to my 2018 #writegoals list.

Because it is time to get over this.

BOLDNESS means putting myself out there. BOLDNESS also means persistence.

Keep at it
Use your voice.
Put it out there.
Keep at it.

In 2018, fellow writers: be bold