Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing By

My pages aren't exactly flying by, but time is, and I'm doing my best to make the most of it. It's been a rough week.

Now, have you ever heard that a writer writes best under pressure? Or that she must find her muse in order to write her best?

It's all hogwash. And it's all true. Here's a not-so-secret secret: you write your best when you have set aside the time to write and stick to it. But you also write your best when you've tapped into your muse and are calling upon legions of creative ideas. And guess what? You can do both at the same time. (Even if you're writing on a laptop in the dance studio, while your daughter is twirling away.) (Not that I've done that.)

I've noticed something lately. The writing outcome of the days in which I feel engrossed with my story and the days in which I am merely pounding out the words are not that different. I write like I write, no matter the mood or the excitement of doing so. Why is this? I think it's because I've been writing and writing and writing for several years and have found my "ME" in my prose. I've found the little invisible thread that leads me from staring at a blank page to putting somewhat-decent words onto it. It's a novel idea (ha ha) that I can sit down and write and expect the same outcome in quality no matter my mood.

This is not to say that when I'm feeling depressed I can write every time. Or that when I'm tired, or busy, or lost in thought about a novel I've just read, I can jot down more of my story. Not always. It only happens when I commit to writing a scene or a specific number of words. And many times, I just don't commit to it and end up finding something, anything, else to do.

(It's what happened the past few days, actually.)

So, to recap:
A writer can expect the outcome in quality to be the same whether she is in "the mood" to write or not, as long as she sets aside the time for it and commits to the doing of it.


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Anna said...

Amber, I think you're right. Once you find "yourself" in the writing, you can tap into it even if you're not in the mood to be writing. I'm definitely having one of those days when I'm feeling like an unproductive lump, but you're right, I should do it anyway! Happy writing. :-)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You are absolutely right! I truly needed to hear this right now because I have been the QUEEN of writing procrastination lately. :)

Jen said...

I think procrastination has run heavy over the blogging world this week, so I'm with Shannon I really needed to read this post... I have actually found that allowing myself to watch what I call trash TV and then walking to get the mail clears my head so that when I come back inside I am ready to write, I'm attentive and focused, whether it's on the laptop or the notebook I am thinking it all out!

Great post!

Kaylie said...

I think you're right on...Some days are harder than others, but it all works out in the end.

Amber Lough said...

I'm so glad you all agreed! After I posted it I had a sudden fear that I was the only one out there, and that I might have come off differently from how I wanted to sound.

Of course, AFTER I posted it, I wasn't able to get back into the hang of things. ;-) I got 2K words written earlier in the day, but none after.

オテモヤン said...


Marcia said...

Amber, I totally agree. I think this insight is one of the things that makes a difference between the amateur and the pro. Excellent post.

Daniel Dragomirescu said...

Your blog looks good. Congratulations.
Daniel D. Peaceman, writer and editor

Laura Pauling said...

Hey Amber, I think you're right. But when I am feeling depressed/discouraged about my writing - like I have for about 2 weeks now - it is better that I take a break and read. If we sit around and wait for our muse, we might not write that often. I think our muse is always there, waiting for us to give it a chance.