Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Write On Wednesday

This week's promt from Becca at Write On Wednesday concerns writing practice

"How about you? Do you have a writing practice? What’s it like? How has it helped you become a better writer? If you’re thinking about starting a writing practice, how do you envision it? What would work for you?"

Occasionally, Write On Wednesday will offer a writing activity to use in your writing practice notebook, or as an idea to blog about. Here’s one to start you off…

"Writing Practice Idea: Write about a time in your life when you were learning a new activity - a musical instrument, a sport, a language - and how you went about practicing it."

I typically write for 15 to 20 minutes every morning before work, but the bulk of my writing comes in the afternoons. I work parttime, so when I come home for lunch every day, I start writing. I consider this my second "job", though, right now, I'm not getting paid for it. Sometimes I will work on short (1200 words) articles for my monthly column, other times I may be working on one of my books.

For anyone who reads my blogs, you are probably aware of the fact I have ADD, so I have trouble concentrating on one project at a time. It is easier for me to work chapter by chapter. This week, I'm trying to work on my young adult book ("Charlie" is the working title), but I keep getting sidetracked when something reminds me of another book I'm working on ("Deep Creek"). I keep separate notebooks for each of my larger writing projects, so sometimes I'll have several notebooks spread out in front of my, jotting down notes in each one. I try to write at least 4 pages every day - that is the minimum I allow myself. Of course, this is only Monday through Friday; anything I write on the weekend is free pages!

The practice of have separate notebooks for each project has helped keep me on task. I used to worry about the fact my attention span was all over the place, but the separate notebooks have brought a calm peace to my writing world. Now I don't feel like I'm shortchanging one thing for another. I'm also a list making, so the separate notebooks are like a big list for me!

The greatest writing advice I have learned came from Stephen King's book On Writing. He says that writers write, every day, no matter what. When I was younger, I didn't think of myself as a writer because I couldn't stick to one topic. Now, I've learned how to channel that energy to improve all my writing. It may take me longer to finish a project because of the ADD, but when I am finished, I know it's the best I can do.

Of course, blogging is also a way to practice writing. I have become obsessed with blogging and it is helping me to hone my focus. Hence the reason I have so many blogs! Just like my separate writing notebooks, I have separate blogs for my different interests. Now it's a juggling act to keep up with all of them, but it makes me happy!

In addition to the notebooks I keep for each project, I also have a general journal that I write in daily. This usually has ideas, quotes, observations or anything else that catches my fancy. I will start using this journal as my practice notebook, so for today's assignment, I'm going to write about learning how to knit.


paisley said...

you sound very much like me in your writing strategies... i have a bunch of things going on,, and find it difficult to concentrate to heavily on any one in particular.. i think that is one of the things i really like about poetry is it can be summed up... how ever,, it might take me four or five hours to do it!!!!!!!

Jeanie said...

Wow -- I don't know how you keep it straight, but those notebooks sound like a great idea. I sorely lack in the organizational department, so I'm a tad envious of that!