During the month of February, we’re reminded of all the people we love. The glittering hearts, chocolate overindulgence, and tents filled with bouquets on the side of the road are a flashing-red-neon-sign that we prioritize who/what we LOVE. I know you love your spouse, kids, cat, dog, etc. (at least I hope you do), you even love your car, TV, favorite actors and authors.
My question for you today is… Do you love writing?
I could do a Top 5 Things I LOVE About Writing list, but that wouldn’t be very personal. Love is personal. If you didn’t already know, the ‘love’ I’m referring to is not a feeling, it’s an action. Let’s use 5 writing exercises to expand your love for writing, and (hopefully) discover what will inspire you to find and claim your priorities. These questions have helped me say ‘no’, put the TV remote down, and stay up an extra hour to do what I love, write.
#1 Make a list of the 10 people/things you love most. Don’t worry about leaving people off the list… It doesn’t mean you don’t love them. I just want you to identify what you love most. Hint: Usually what/who you spend the most time on/with is what you love most.
- Is writing on the list? Why or Why not?
- If it’s not on the list, is there someone/thing you’re willing to switch out for writing? It’s not that the other person/thing can’t be in your life, but if writing isn’t in your Top 10 Things do you think you’re going to make time for it, or even be passionate about it?
#2 Making time for what you love. If you did the exercise above and feel like you need to reevaluate a few things, do it! Sometimes we get in a rut and out priorities get shifted and skewed by other things that have shoved their way into our life.
- Is your best friend on your Top 10 list of loves? Of course! And, to keep up your relationship you communicate with your BFF everyday, right!?!? If you want to grow your writing and make it a part of your life, you have to write EVERY day!
- So, schedule the time. Right now. Really! Get out your calendar/app/daytimer and WRITE IT DOWN! Aim for 2-4 weeks of scheduling at a time.
#3 Once you start writing every day you’ll begin to see your love become a routine. Some might argue that if you don’t ‘feel’ it, you should write, but I’d argue that if you LOVE writing it’s not about a feeling, but about the action of writing every day. For example, I’m a happily married woman with a HOT husband! I know it’s hard to believe, but there are days I just don’t feel the love. I’m usually cranky, distracted, or both, but I still demonstrate love to my husband. Whether it’s a kiss, some encouragement, or the dreaded laundry, my husband knows I love him because it’s about how I demonstrate that love.
- List 5 ways you can demonstrate your love for writing? (i.e. blogging, journaling, word count goals, etc.)
- Now, do one of the actions on your list each day for the next 5 days!
#4 Love is not about the awkward first date or the one night stand, so if you love writing you need to stick with it! Love is long term, like a family member. I tell people that I love my family, but there are some days I don’t like them very much. LOL!
- If your writing is long term, then take the opportunity now to make a few long term goals. When do you think you can have your rough draft finished? How many books do you think you can write in 2015? How many queries do you want to send out this Spring?
- Accountability can help you with long term goals. Find people in your community that write, or join a group of writers online to help encourage and challenge you. You can also use the hashtag #LOVEWRITECREATE, and seek out some community with myself, Gaby Robbins, and Morgan Wylie.
- Another aspect of writing that can be an encouragement is attending conferences. The right writing/book conference can propel you forward in your love for writing, so plan to go to one or two, or twelve!
#5 For the LOVE… Of your story! Lastly, I’m learning that in addition to my love for writing I have to love what I’m writing! If you love science fiction, don’t try and write historical fiction for your first novel. There isn’t anything that will make you quit faster than being disinterested in your own plot and characters. If you don’t love it, how can you expect others to love it?
- Before you start a new project, do some writing exercises to fill out your brilliant idea. If you still love it after you figure out that your main character’s biggest pet peeve is when others interrupt each other, and her supposed love interest is a know-it-all that won’t let anyone finish a sentence, then run with it! I have a few writing exercises here…. And, you can also find similar exercises on writing blogs, and even Pinterest.
- After you discover your gritty alternate universe or serene fantasy land, make sure you plot out and/or outline your story. My friends and I talk a lot about this in a Google Hangout called Outlines: The Bones of Your Novel. Check it out, and see for yourself how the process can help your writing process.