cup on desk with writing plan

Happy new year, writer friends! How are you making time in 2021?

Purpose.

It’s been a pandemic since I last wrote here. I started this blog as a way for me to crystalize my own craft insights and to inspire others who have a story they long to tell but who do not yet believe in themselves enough to Make Time. I am proud of all that I’ve gathered here and I often look back to remind myself of my own insights and practices when I get off track or caught up in the internal interferences of doubt, gloom, or indecision. I’ve been working away at this practice for more than thirty years now ,and I’m pretty happy with where I’ve come in my practice, but it has taken time. It has taken persistence. It has taken the willingness to constantly interrogate fear and doubt. I have been buoyed by other practices, such as yoga, running, and meditation. I have learned and borrowed from many other writers to find the things that will work for me. I have built a network of writer friends who I support and who support me. 

Not all of the grand ideas others suggest will work for you, and that’s okay. You are perfect just the way you are. Keep choreographing your own dance.  

This will never be a blog focused on how to write the next bestseller and market it. This is a blog about how to make time for the open-hearted work that is writing, persisting in finding your voice, having the courage to take risks when you feel compelled to, and cultivating joy in your creative process. I’ve been posting here for at least fifteen years, and as we move into 2021, I hope to continue to inspire other writers to join me in this work. 

Practice.

What works for me right now is to keep a planner and honor that plan. I am currently in love with this one. Scheduling specific time to write and honoring that allows me to enjoy the time I’ve carved out and set the work aside during other times. In the past, I’ve struggled with procrastination and the work of writing always looming over me as a thing I should be doing. That never resonated with how I actually feel about the work. It’s not a looming responsibility. It’s a joy and a passion. I use a Pomodoro app (this one) to single-task. I use this app for writing, editing, the submissions process, and most recently practicing guitar. Committing to do just one thing, to push forward in my work for twenty-five minute intervals increases my productivity times four, at least. I participate in a writer’s group, even when the feedback I am getting is inconvenient for my desire to finish the work. Especially when this is the case.

One area that I have consistently struggling with is submitting work. I sat down last week and made two spreadsheets to better track my submissions. I don’t how I resisted this so long, but I know why. As I was combing through emails I had filed away and putting those rejections into a spreadsheet, I had to admit that stuffing those emails away under a label as soon as they came in was not unlike stuffing a negative emotion down when it comes up. Each email I opened and then logged in my spreadsheet brought up surges of self-doubt and self-loathing. But do you know what helped me combat that? Putting them into a very concrete, unemotional spreadsheet. This also helped me to see that I hadn’t submitted nearly as much as I thought I had. I have been inconsistent and haphazard. No more! I never thought I’d be so grateful for the straightforward reality of a spreadsheet. 

As you start this new year with some new writing goals of your own, I hope to meet you here Sundays for a week in review. Until then, I’ve linked some more resources here below that might be helpful to you as you build your writing goals for 2021. As always, I am happy to here from you here or via email (eatyourwords.lizshine@gmail.com). 

More resources.

Past blogs that might inspire: 

Zen accident

Washing the dishes

Write slowly

A celebration of the pause

Monday, a run through the driving rain…

Think you might benefit from a one-on-one writing coach to get you back on track? Consider hiring me to coach you. More information here

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