The Artist’s Way- Beginning Again

In my grand self-improvement project, a key element has been focusing more on my writing. Not the vast quantity of email I send every day at work, not the book report style summaries I keep being assigned for my grad school program, not even the professional portfolio I’m working on. My writing. The fiction, the poems, the essays written for no particular publication, and the journals that pile up around the house.

I don’t spend nearly as much time on my writing as I mean to. The television keeps spitting episodes of Mad Men, America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, and House at me. Friends and family and exes and doctors inevitably call the minute I sit down with a pen and paper. Popping onto the internet to look one factoid up ends in three hours of web-surfing and blog reading. And the pile of really great writing books on the nightstand lead me to read more about writing than I actually write.

But one of those really great writing books has put me on a plan. “On Writing” by Stephen King was honestly the best writing book I have ever shoveled down (I flew through in two days because I loved it so much). And he insists on a page assignment. Five pages a day. Six days a week. In a room with the door shut. Which for me means the spare bedroom- a tv and internet free room. And leaving the cell phone downstairs. On top of that dictum, I picked up the Artist’s Way again today for the fourth time. I usually do ok for the first few weeks. Then life gets in the way of my priorities on artist-y living. I give up on the two hour artist dates because I get invites from friends. I miss morning pages for a few more minutes sleep.

Which all goes to state the obvious. I have a hard time prioritizing myself, what I want to do for me. It’s hard to say I want to be alone for two or three hours and write something. Even if that something is trash that I write just for me, for the sheer joy of creation. Not for a deadlined contest. Not an article request on something dull and boring for the money. Just good ol’ writing for writing’s sake in my own time. And with my crazy hectic schedule, I have to schedule me-time. And of course those appointments are the easiest to reschedule.

So for the next twelve weeks (until Tuesday, December 9), I’m on an activity diet. The doctor’s appointments (3 in the next week) are not optional. But the saying yes to every event that pops into my email is totally a choice I can make. Nanowrimo comes right at the heart of it, so that’s 50,000 words in November alone to keep me on task.

I’m buzzing on potential. What I ask of you all is to keep me on task. I should be mentioning the adventures in writing if I’m actually staying on the ball. If I go a while without mentioning it, that might mean I fell off the wagon. So ask. I may want to lie through my teeth, but at least I’ll know I have y’all in my corner tracking my progress. So, now that House is almost over, I’m off. It’s time for me to write. For real. Wish me luck.

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8 Comments

Filed under Soul Searching, Writing

8 responses to “The Artist’s Way- Beginning Again

  1. Best wishes for success on your goal!

    I love the idea of an activity diet — picking something special and important . . . and making it happen.

  2. Good luck! Nanowrimo is on my list of things to accomplish once I stop this whole “formal education” sha-bang.

    Also, I’ll be in your fair city this weekend with The Boy, any suggestions?

  3. I am in a similar place and really need to get some focus going with my writing. Perhaps we should turn it into a contest? 😉

    Good luck!

  4. i need to write too. blast. did stephen king mention having twin toddlers? that’s my excuse (s). you sat down to write the email about writing. seems like a good first step.

  5. I find it ridiculously difficult to make time for writing. It’s just too easy to procrastinate on in favor of TV and Web surfing. Go you for making a concerted effort. Good luck!!

  6. Bee

    I became a teacher because I thought that the holidays would afford me lots of writing time. Which they do, to an extent…..after I have done all my marking and lesson planning and the requisite procrastinating which comes with that. And THEN I get maybe three hours writing done, cos this too also comes with a side serve of procrastination.

    And, oh yeah – I became a teacher cos I like kids and stuff 😉

  7. KristinAthena

    I just found you today; this is the first post I read. And it’s a pledge I’ve been making to myself all year long.

    Let’s do this, Eleanor Trousers! Ima join your diet until Dec. 9, which happens to be my birthday. I’ll do my second NaNo this year. How can I encourage you without distracting you with more email?

  8. binaross

    off topic– is that your postcard on post secret this morning?

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