Creative Writer's Handbook, fourth ed, Jason and Lefcowitz
I read this quote the other day and had to pause. Am I a writer or a poser? Being published isn't the discriminating decider. It's all about the writing. Sometimes I'm amazed at how little actual writing gets done during my day. Sure, I read a lot about writing. I check out blogs, comment on blogs, feel jealous about published writers, wonder if I should or shouldn't be participating in NaNoWriMo, look through Writers Market and contemplate writers' guidelines, but am I doing the writing?
Sometimes I'm so overwhelmed and trapped in my own insecurity I stay busy being a poser and not a writer. And have you ever noticed avoidance begets avoidance? It's insidious.
How do you make sure you are a writer and not a poser? Here are a few ways I battle the avoidance bug:
- Keep a journal- write in it every day
- Carry a notepad- think like a writer, make notes as ideas and observations occur
- Short stories- find a contest or publication accepting short stories and give one a whirl (A few of my favorite: Glimmer Train, WOW! Women on Writing, Salt, to name a few, not that I've been accepted yet, but the carrot keeps me trying and writing.)
- MMIA? Find a prompt to loosen the clogged brain (Writer's Digest Prompts, The First Line Literary Journal)
- Magazine article-- Paid or unpaid, I like these because they are short and fairly simple and straight-forward to write
- WIP - commit to a minimal word limit, 300-500 words even
- MS in need of revision- tackle just one chapter
- Blog entry, make it meaty and thoughtful
- Play with first sentences-- write a list and see if one inspires
What do you do to make sure you're writing every day? What sources do you turn to for submission when you're feeling dry? How do you kick start your creative process? What writing disciplines do you have in place?
Don't keep these ideas to yourself: there's a poser out there who desperately needs you (maybe me!).