By Wendy Lawton
Today is the day after a three-day-weekend, the beginning of summer. It makes us remember the days of childhood when this was the beginning of a long and lazy summer vacation. Anyone finding it hard to get back into the swing of things? To get back at it?
Nothing seems harder than actually getting down to the work of writing. Writers are constantly alternating between feeling waves of guilt for not meeting writing goals and experiencing a strange euphoria for exceeding that goal. You see the acronym BIC showing up in writer’s advice all the time. It stands for Behind-in-Chair (or something less polite), which is what the quest actually entails. The simple truth is, no writing gets done unless we put our body in our chair and engage with the keyboard.
We often think that multitasking–not only writing but also marketing, networking, Twittering, blogging, Facebook-ing and, oh, yes, taking care of families, church and household duties–is a new wrinkle in the world of publishing. Listen to what writer Virginia Woolf said in her diary: “I’ve shirked two parties, and another Frenchman, and buying a hat, and going to tea with Hilda Trevelyan, for I really can’t combine all this with keeping my imaginary people going.”
In a wonderful article in Victoria magazine (January 2009), Jan Karon says, “When I write, I dive headlong into the work as into a river, where I swim for my life, or, depending on the tenor of the story, float on my back, gazing at the clouds. I inhabit that river for five hours or two minutes, ten or thirty, whatever the day may yield. When there’s nothing more to say or conjure, I make my way to the shore, trying to separate fiction from fact, and get on with the business of living.”
Let’s talk about how we get the actual work of writing done, how we get back at it, including deadlines, interruptions, page counts and goals. So how do you do it?