There’s this phrase, a joke really, about how “you’re not really a writer unless someone sees you doing it”. Family Guy had a cutaway once of two guys writing in a well known coffee shop where one of the guys asks the other to watch him as he writes. There’s a bit more to it, but you get the gist. The reason I bring this up is because I don’t go anywhere to write, but after attending my first writers group tonight, I can understand the appeal. I don’t need the outside validation to prove to myself that I am in fact a writer, but the two hours of solitude I was able to partake in tonight was wonderful. I sat in a little restaurant with about 20 other writers, put in my ear buds, and just focused on my work. I don’t want to say that I liked the fact that I had no dogs or sister demanding my attention, but the little respite was welcome. When I came home my sister told me to take two hours everyday and go to said well known coffee shop. But my laptop is now ancient, and I suppose I could use a pen and pencil the old fashioned way, but I actually type pretty quickly, fast enough to usually keep up with my train of thought, except when my hands are cold, like they are now, and I keep shivering and hitting the wrong keys, and having to go back and fix every other word…
So attending a writers group was one of the many items on my new to do list. A way to meet people and network and be held accountable. As I’ve mentioned, time sometimes gets away from me and I don’t get any screenwriting done. So I joined a handful of groups in an effort to find multiple slots of time each week to get out of the house and work. Doesn’t that sound strange? But, when dirty dishes are staring at you, or a Netflix marathon seems inevitable because it’s a little cold and gloomy outside, and you’d rather snuggle on the couch with your dogs or significant other then sit at your desk and “work”, getting out may be the only answer. I think a laptop might help me as well. Then I could snuggle and work.
One of the other items on my list is to be more creative, in any capacity. I’d like to learn to draw, more than balloons and stick figures. I’d like to learn to sew, more than stitching my dogs chew toys because they are aggressive chewers. I used to decorate cakes, so this weekend, for my sister’s birthday, I made this —
I don’t have any of the proper utensils to actually decorate cakes, so I’m pretty proud of the results. My friends were impressed, so I’ll probably give this another try. Valentine’s Day is around the corner, as is my birthday…perhaps I’ll make my own cake…
So my point is this. Those resolutions, whatever they are, try to keep them. Start small. Let them build upon each other, and when you look back in three months, six, the end of the year, you will be so impressed with the progress you made and you can be proud of your accomplishments. If you’re a fellow writer, I would recommend small page/word counts to start. 1,000 words a day or 10 pages, etc. may sound easy enough, but there’s a lot of life that could get in the way, and if you don’t hit that mark, you might be disappointed. So start a little lower, build momentum, and add to that word count/page count every month or so. If you get on a roll, you may write more one day, then you can celebrate.
One thing I’ve learned along the way is to celebrate your achievements, great or small. You finished that chapter you were struggling with…treat yourself to something. Finished the first draft on your novel…treat yourself to something big! Your treats could be anything; a celebratory walk around the corner for a bit of fresh air, and to revel in the moment of your success. Maybe it’s a new keyboard, or a pen, whatever.
It’s easy to let things slide (I know this better than anyone), but come the end of the year, you want to be able to look back and feel good about it all. This is what is propelling me forward this year. I don’t want a repeat of the last one, or two. Remember to write down those goals and post them where you can see them. The constant reminder helps.
Wishing you all the best! Continued success! And be sure to look around in the coming week as I make changes to the blog…another item to check off that list.