WEDC, Week 2: Leave the Woman Bagging Your Groceries Alone

I’ve been looking forward to updating you all on how my Write Every Day Challenge is going. Thank you to those of you who are keeping me accountable!

Here are two very common excuses I have received when encouraging writers to write every day.

1. “Some days, I simply just don’t have the time.” It’s true. Writing each and every day can become difficult, especially for those of you who have children and/or work a day job. Or for someone like me who must cope with daily physical ailments and lead a busy life as a pastor’s wife. However, I’ve learned something very important this past week. You can make time. If you’re a morning person, wake up a couple hours earlier than your family does. If you’re a night person like me, wait until your family falls asleep and then sneak your notebook or laptop out, even if it’s in bed, and write just before you sleep. This past week, I went easy on myself, because it was my first week of being more consciously consistent with my writing (and I had a bad Fibro flare up). Each day, I set a goal for myself. Most days, it was to write one new paragraph (you can follow me on twitter for updates). On other, more busy days, my goal was to write one new sentence. Even if I managed to write just one new sentence, I was happy, because I was, one, getting my writing in for the day, and two, moving forward. And if you are a writer, you know that this kind of satisfaction, of knowing that your story or novel or blog post is progressing, is of utmost importance to remain fulfilled as an artist.

2. “What if I’m not feeling inspired on a particular day?” As writers, we all believe in the power and necessity of inspiration. How else are we supposed to get excited about what we’re working on and put our heart and soul into it? We are close observers of the world, because that’s where we get our ideas from. We are spies and master eavesdroppers. Some days, we feel extremely inspired, and can’t wait to write. Some days, however, we sit at our desks and stare at the blank page that taunts us to fill it with something. Anything. But we can’t. We flip through our journals, walk our dogs until they are begging us to go back inside, read a few chapters of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (run to the bookstore, do not walk, if you don’t have this already), go out to buy milk and make conversation with the woman bagging our groceries, all in hopes of stimulating our muse. Here’s my advice: screw the muse! Yeah. I said it. Your inspiration should stem from your overwhelming desire to write the story that is longing to emerge.

I have a neon yellow 3X5 card posted on the board next to my desk in our office. On it is a message to me from Charles Baxter (author of The Feast of Love). I wrote about my contact with him in a previous post. It says:

“…the writing that you do is not about yourself, or your career, but about the people, and situations, and the beauty and truth you can get into the work. You’re the medium for all that. If you think of yourself as a medium, a means for getting other people onto the page, your writing will come more easily.”

And that, my friends, is what inspires me each day. The notion that I am the medium for giving my characters a place and a situation in which to do what they need to do. This is enough for me, because like all other writers, I can’t rest until I write my stories down.

As we begin week two of our WEDC, push yourself to write at least one new sentence every day, and don’t wait for inspiration. Let your inspiration be the fact that you are moving forward with your story.

And that’s what matters most, because you are the only person that can give your story life.

Week two–Ready, set, write!

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