Today, on this, my last post for the Inscribe professional blog, I ask you to consider your longer-term goal and how you will get there. What do you want to have accomplished by the end of the year? Is it steady blogging or perhaps progress on a book of memories, poetry, devotionals, or other short pieces that you plan to submit? How will you get it all done?
One thing is for sure. If you don’t make time, it won’t happen.
What kind of writing fires you up most? What got you started? If you’re composing day after day and it feels like drudgery, is that the kind of work you should continue to do? Decide which projects are not worth continuing or if you can use that material in another way.
My first pieces were educational articles, then book reviews, op-eds, and devotionals, and it was a good start. I still write letters to the editor and devotional assignments for our national denominational booklet, yet I also like stories and poetry. I am a storyteller, so stories are my natural focus, with a few other things in between to keep it all interesting.
Like your daily meals, you want variety—not always the same thing—unless perhaps you have a big project that needs to be completed. Even then you might want to change your schedule a bit to keep you inspired and moving forward.
You might like macaroni and cheese and pizza, for example, but you wouldn’t want a steady diet of just those things. You want colour and texture, a variety of foods that make your plate look pleasing. Mix the greens; toss in some fruit and veggies. Add the meat and seasoning, but not too much of either one. Like your food, vary your writing routine.
How can you lay out your weekly writing to make it more inviting?
Draw a road map for the coming weeks and month and mark in all the plans you have—the stories, devotionals or poetry you’ve begun and want to work on. Even if you only have an hour or so a day, you can still vary the routine, keeping in mind deadlines you’ve committed to and considering opportunities for continued learning and refining your work—such as writers’ workshops, critique meetings or conferences.
Add some humour to your writing, a story that makes your point, and description. Take time for revision between other writing so something gets polished and ready to submit. And remember to read as well. Submit to publications or contests to get your work out there—if that is your goal—and perhaps receive good news. Then on days when the writing is hard, going to your desk will be more inviting and you’ll get something accomplished. The more you write, the better you get. Work on dedication and variety, and may your writing go well for you.
Carolyn R. Wilker edits, writes and teaches from southwestern Ontario. On February 28th she will lead a workshop for the Canadian Authors’ Association, Waterloo-Wellington branch, and in June she will co-lead the Creative Nonfiction Intensive workshop at Write Canada 2015.