You know the old saying, ‘practice what you preach’? It’s most often used when you are giving advice to someone and they call you on it. When they realize that what you are telling them they should do is exactly what you should be doing. Well, I have been called on it.
I recently joined up with eight amazing women authors for a month long writing workshop to put some spit shine on our works in progress. It’s led by my incredible writing coach, Rebecca T. Dickson, whom I have mentioned time and time again. Becky is infamous for her brash, yet ingeniously direct way of guiding ones pen. And I love her.
During our conference call yesterday, I was talking about how difficult it is to get out of my writing slump. In two seconds flat, Becky reminds me that I am the one who hosts a Friday free write and what I have been telling my readers to do, is the very thing I should be doing to get back in the groove. And she was right. I force feed the fact that free writing is the best way to bring your writing mojo back and yet I wasn’t following my own advice. I was editing as I wrote and trying to make it ‘pretty’ the first time the words hit the page. Which, I blame the poet in me for that disability.
As one who has always only written poetry, this transition into writing in length for a novel; dialogue, narrative, character building etc…has been quite a challenge. And as another author in our little group mentioned, “I love writing, but I hate it, too.” And the problem with that is, because I am a writer at heart, my mind is always in creative mode. I have no choice but to just do it. Because I have to. Because it won’t leave me alone unless I do. And when I find myself blocked, I imagine it must be like someone who has an addiction. I need a fix, quick. Or it literally becomes painful and takes me over where I cannot eat, sleep or think until something has been put down. Okay, I lied…I can always eat.
So the one thing that could relieve some of this agony I was going through, was free writing. And I wasn’t doing it.
After the call, I decided to just go for it. I opened up Word. Created a new file. Then I just wrote. Freely. Without thought. Completely turning off my internal editor and letting the words hit the page no matter how ugly they were. No matter how badly I wanted to hit backspace and fix them. I just wrote. And in a matter of minutes, I had nearly two full pages that, with a little tweaking, will be good, usable work. All I could think was, ‘my FWF bandits will be so proud of me’.
This morning, I am back at it. And the story lives again. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Are you following me on the journey toward my first novel? Read more updates on my writing process in my Novel Journey section.