Streaks and Breaks

Dear Readers, I’m thrilled to report that it’s been 70 days of straight writing as of this post.

I am very amazed at myself. One, because if you care to go back through the blog posts, you can see that I’ve had a very difficult time keeping any type of a regular schedule both times I’ve attempted to keep this space current and Two because the Start/Stop pattern has been so pervasive in my life.

Yet, as I celebrate this success, I am half-dreading an upcoming challenge.

And that challenge is taking a vacation.

I’ll sip my tea while you scratch your head, roll your eyes or just stare at the screen in puzzlement.

On the 20th, my sister and I will be boarding a cruise ship and sailing off for a 5-day vacation of sun, fun and bonding. At this time, I don’t have access to a mobile word processing machine. I mean, if I absolutely WANTED to I could charm my husband’s laptop out of him for those 5 days, but he’s a full time student and needs the mobile tech more than I do.

My sister has an iPad. I could borrow that during our cruise, but see…that’s the not the point of vacation. And when it comes time to leave, I’ll have been writing for 80 straight mornings. Eighty is a good number and plus, how will I ever learn to start AGAIN if I don’t have those breaks?

I used to believe (and sometimes I still do) that the only so-called ‘real writers’ were the ones that wrote everyday. But as I hang out with more writers, as I meet more people who have been doing this longer than a couple of years, as I examine what makes success and who becomes good and who doesn’t, I have realized that while the habit is important, it’s not what makes me a Writer.

If you write stuff down and tell yourself stories, you’re a writer. Period. If you write every day, you’re a writer. If you write every week, you’re a writer. If you write one or two stories during your school breaks, or when you get an idea, you’re a writer.

The more you write, the better you get but a writer without a strict schedule is still a writer. That has been an important realization.

Does that mean that after I get back from my cruise that I’m going to quit getting up every day? Hell no. I have 1 hour a day that I’ve dedicated to writing. One. Hour. And while I always have the option of writing more when I get home from work, I have accepted that in the evenings, I usually only have enough energy to do one or two things and usually it’s nothing that’s creatively minded.

Finally, just wanted to reveal my blog schedule to you all in case you were wondering:

This blog is updated every three days, except for the days that I’ll be out of contact.

While I know a M/W/F is probably a more accepted schedule, I’ve found that if I can get a post up every three days I always have something to say.

If you want to join in on the community that has been helping me keep consistent, hit me up on Twitter at @dracoangelica or go listen to Ally Bishop’s episode 100 of her podcast ‘Upgrade Your Story‘. She’s starting a community driven workshop called The Cerulean Project and it’s been very helpful for my habit structures.

 

Opportunities

I created this blog so that I could reach out to people like me. People who were trying to start, work and finish works of fiction. While I’ve been writing for years, a lot of my progress has felt like I’ve been running in place. I’ve made progress from where I was a year or two years ago, but they’re treadmill miles and I’m still in a room by myself.

The last couple of weeks has seen an opening in those gym walls. I have been talking with people on Twitter, reaching out to people in the greater writing community and happily, getting some feedback. That’s a great feeling.

Recently there has been a new movement growing in the writing community that I’ve noticed. I’m not sure what to call it, maybe “Tired of the Norm”? or perhaps “Fed Up with Status Quo”? No matter what you want to label it, it’s there. This unrest and frustration with the process of going from new and untried writer to polished and professional Author.

It was in the letter from the Writer’s Guild to the Publishing industry a few weeks back. It’s the amount of unpolished and mistake-riddled self-pubs that litter the eBook market; solid stories that are literally held back by rookie mistakes that a traditional publishing house would have cleaned up…but also taken over 50% of the profit in creating. This frustration is in the undertone of so many conversations I had on Twitter, it’s on episodes of Podcasts that I listen to and it’s in message boards that I frequent.

We work alone, punching out words when we get the time, striving step by step to one day join the league of published authors who have their books lining the shelves of our hearts and minds. Well, I don’t think we always have to be alone.

Ally Bishop, host of one of my favorite podcast series on the web, “Upgrade Your Story” has been working over the last few weeks to create a new project that is aimed at helping newish AND mid-level authors. She’ll be talking about craft and how we can improve ourselves as we go towards our eventual goal of having a quality book to put out into the world.

If you want to know more about the Cerulean project, please go Here: http://www.upgradeyourstory.com/uys-podcast/1357/ and check out the last 10 minutes or so of her ‘cast. She tells you how to join up and what she’s intending by launching the Cerulean Project.

Hope that I’ll see you there!

My writing community has held me up

Happy Friday, reader.

It’s been a wonderful month on the writing front. I have managed to write 58 straight days of sitting down to write and all of January I have devoted my efforts to one project, which it probably a personal record. I have tried to do this many times before. This whole ‘make and keep a habit’ thing. The difference between those times and now have been Support.

In my previous attempts, I have always had a couple of excellent writing friends that have tried to keep my honest, tried to keep me on task, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough for me. I’d wind up not doing something I intended and then feel guilty about it.

This time, I began posting to Twitter about what ‘Day’ of writing I was on and it got a response from the #amwriting community. The key for me was that it was never just One person acting as my accountability, but new people every day on Twitter.

This has been exactly what’s kept me on task.

But I’m stepping it up for the month of February.

Monday, one of my twitter friends, Ally Bishop is going to be hosting a Blab about her new Cerulean project. She’s been working really hard to help writers like me, and probably writers like you as well. Ally is a freelance Editor who puts out daily Periscope chats and weekly podcasts on the art of writing and storytelling. I featured her in December in my ‘Favorite Podcasts of the Month’ blog. Well, this weekend I reached out to her and I’m going to be helping her with an exciting new resource to help other Neo-pros like myself keep that good ‘village’ of support around us while we get to the point of ‘Published’ and beyond.

There will be more details available on a Blab she is hosting Monday and it you want to know about how to join the Cerulean project too, go listen to THIS podcast. Information on the new community is at the end of the that recording.

In the meantime, look for some exciting changes coming both to this space and to my Twitter feed over the next few weeks. I’m not giving up this round and I’m so grateful to all those who have helped me get this far.