Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Last week I wrote about productivity and word counts. Today I’d like to examine work style. 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 Butt-in-Chair, 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 one of my old Victoria magazines (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, including deadlines, interruptions, and goals. What is your work style? How do you get the work done? Do you have to give anything up to get the work done?