On NaNoWriMo, Productivity, & Anne Lamott

I hit 50k last week. I did a fist pump or two and promised myself that I’d keep writing 1k a day until Christmas. I’d have a full 90k draft to celebrate on Christmas morning, in the midst of stockings and cinnamon rolls.

Guess what? I haven’t written anything since then. Instead,  I spent a week editing on super speed for a client and, despite the super speed, it was super fun. So I’m a little off track, but I still have my eye on that 90k. Why? Writing has become part of my DNA. If I’m not writing a story, I’m editing one. If I’m not editing, I’m outlining. Brainstorming. Researching. Etc.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to keep moving forward. Keep writing, creating, playing, reading, dreaming, researching, and–believe me–analyzing. When you stay productive, the habitual cycle of consuming and creating will help you grow.

Stephen King’s On Writing encourages (almost demands) that you write every day. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott also encourages a productivity-centric mindset, but in a more poetic way.

Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do–the actual act of writing–turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward (xxvi).

While I am still very publication/end goal/word count focused, it’s good to be reminded that the messy and challenging process is worth cherishing. Productivity isn’t just a means to an end, just as my life isn’t just a means to an end. Every day, even with all the mush and mundanity, is valuable. Those moments when I stare at the wall, wondering how the heck I’m going to get my character out of this life-and-death situation, I’m still doing valuable work. It’s all part of the process.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to extend my writing break for another day and read the next chapter of Bird by Bird. 

 

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Friday Reflections: Generous Networking

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I believe that Roberts is referring to Stephen King’s advice from “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” which I would highly recommend.

With the advent of social media, creatives can link directly to their audiences, creating informational immediacy, revolutionizing professional relationships, and necessitating business savvy. See the articles below to discover the best advice from the online world of writing and freelance:

The Stephen King Drawer Method for Writing Better Copy” – Stacey Roberts addresses her fellow writers and bloggers, encouraging them to improve their work with one simple hint: give space. Though it’s tempting to press ‘publish’ right after typing a blog post, maybe you should try out Stephen King’s drawer method.

The Network Effect: How Joining Forces with Fellow Freelancers can Jumpstart Your Career” – Ritika Puri offers advice that all creatives can benefit from: don’t stiff-arm the competition. In her article at The Freelance Strategist, she encourages freelancers to network, connect, and collaborate. Since Puri focuses mostly on freelancers, her article serves as a great launch point for next week’s StoryForge article on artistic collaboration.

7 Things I learned from the World’s Best Marketers” – As an artist, you might think that you can leave the business stuff to the business people. Incorrect! Especially with the immediacy of social media, marketing skills are necessary to make your way in the world. Learn from Tiana Warner, as she guest blogs for Jane Friedman.