DIY MFA: Prompt #5 Best Writing Practice Failure

 

We’ve all heard them. Write in the morning. Write 2,000 words every day. Or just write somethinganything every day.

Keep a blog. Don’t keep a blog. Turn off social media. Develop your writing platform. Only give yourself 5-minute breaks to minimize distractions. Don’t check your email. Create a dedicated writing space. Set aside a dedicated writing time. Read every day. Create a schedule. Outline. Outline. Outline. 

I struggle with most everything listed above (including contradictory advice); however, creating some sort of consistent writing schedule is my biggest fail. I’ve been out of corporate for over a year, focusing on writing and painting full-time and I still can’t get into a regular routine. In spite of my best efforts, I’m just not wired that way. 

I can’t write at the same time every day. Hell, I can’t even write every day. Some days no matter how I try, the words remain elusive and I’m left pulling my hair in frustration. During those early months, shortly after my layoff, my goal was to write 1,000 words per day. 

And for a while I did. I started a new novel without planning a single word. And for weeks, I wrote not having any idea where the novel headed. At 42,000 words I realized I’d written myself into a corner. I’m still not sure what to make of this mess. Worse yet, I realized I didn’t even like the story I’d spent months writing! Oy vey. This caused a bit of a crisis and I haven’t written much else of that novel since. It’s yet another unfinished project that I hope one day to return to.

UGH. I have too many of those. 

I made a vow that 2018 will be the year of endings. I will finish my work. I will submit as often as possible. And I won’t let myself get bogged down by other people’s well-meaning advice. 

Sometimes I lose the forest through the trees, so literal and perfectionistic that I don’t recognize the significant progress I’ve made, regardless of not having a “set” schedule. 

The best advice? Don’t compare yourself to others. Do what works for you. Take nuggets of wisdom that ring true and and mold them to your own idiosyncrasies. Be true to yourself. You’ll find your way through trial and error.  

 

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