…as a writer when you have to force yourself to put your butt in the chair and your fingers to the keyboard and finish that next chapter, outline, synopsis or whatever project you’re on. Unless an idea has set your brain and fingers on fire, forcing yourself to work on your writing may be the toughest thing you have to do to make yourself reach those final words.
Published authors say, “Lots of people have three chapters of a book in a drawer at home. You know you’re a real writer when you’ve finished the book. ”
I used to run marathons. They’re all twenty-six miles, three-hundred eighty-five yards long. I belonged to a huge Fitness Club for runners and walkers, and we had a psychiatrist member. We’d train for seven months for a marathon, and he’d talk to us about the mental toughness it takes to go the distance. His advice became our slogan — “Just Do It.” No excuses, no wondering if you can, just do it.
I especially remembered that when I jogged and walked my first one, the Los Angeles Marathon. The last four miles were brutal. I felt absolutely and totally awful. I was hot, sweaty, hungry, thirsty and in pain. I came alongside a woman about my age, who remembered WWII, and she said, “This is like the Bataan Death March.” It was oh, so true, yet I didn’t once think about dropping out or questioning whether I would make it. I just did it.
I began a romance novel umpteen years ago, in a time when we didn’t have computers, the Internet or copiers in our libraries or homes. I was a wife and the mother of young children with a job outside my home. There wasn’t much time for writing, yet I’d draw myself up to my full height and say, “I’m writing a novel.”
Sometimes I even brought it out and worked on it. Often it would be two or three years before I got back to it. Had to read it all over again because in the meantime I’d forgotten the names of my characters, where I was in the story, and even which part of the house or outdoors the scene I was working on was in. In the back of my mind was this nagging idea that someday I’d finish this book and sell it. As the years passed, I realized I needed to quit my job or I’d never finish it. So I quit.
I splurged on a couple of writers conferences, then treated myself twice to weekend writers retreats in the mountains. Cool, clean, bracing air and an author instructor who read what we’d written that day, critiqued it at night and met with us the next morning to make suggestions. On the last day of the second retreat, I GOT IT DONE. It was picked up by an epublisher first time out.
This blog is dedicated to sharing my writing life and my experiences in getting it done – butt to the chair and fingers to the keys.
Happy writing! Don’t forget to read!