Well, we’ve arrived at a crucial chapter in our online discussion of the book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts.
The fifth chapter is simply titled: Write.
That’s ultimately why we’re all here, right?
To some degree or another, we all write. We like to write. Some of us love to write.
Not only is it a lifeline, but it can, and should, and often does, last a lifetime.
That’s what this book is about, right? Creating habits for a writing life that lasts.
Here are co-authors Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig with a short video conversation about this chapter:
As Ann and Charity share in the video above, this chapter is really about sitting down and getting the work done.
It doesn’t sound glamorous, I know — but if you want to be a writer, you kind of have to write.
“Basically if you want to become a good writer, you need to do three things.
Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and write a lot.” ~ Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
What hurdles do you come up against that threaten to keep you from productive writing?
Charity mentions the common, time-sucking distractions like Facebook and Twitter. (Guilty as charged.)
Ann talks about how her creativity and motivation is often sapped if she talks to others too soon about a writing project she’s working on.
For me, I find that the intersection between inspiration and available free time is a rarity.
What are your challenges? I suppose identifying them is half the battle, right?
In the previous chapters, we’ve talked about arranging our lives to accommodate for writing, and surrounding ourselves with things and people that will inspire.
One reader commented that she gets so much accomplished while sitting alone at Panera. I’ve had the same experience. Sometimes I’ve blocked off time in my calendar, sat myself down in a cubicle at the library, and switched of my wi-fi, just to give myself the maximum potential to crank out words.
What works for you? How do you get yourself to sit down and get the work done? When have you experienced a really productive stretch of writing?
If you’re in a “dry patch,” (or even if you’re not), you can find some great inspiration over at Tweetspeak Poetry.
I’d also *love* to have you join the fun in the upcoming 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes this October!
What better way to kick your writing life into gear than by having a great group of friends writing for five minutes a day TOGETHER?!
Voting is now open (through Sept. 5th) — YOU get to give three prompt suggestions! Click here to vote, and click here for a taste of last year’s shenanigans.
Today’s link-up topic suggestions:
Write your own blog post or journal entry on one or more of the following topics:
Brainstorm a list of blog post or article ideas. Write out a list of action steps to incorporate regular writing into your life.
Share some of your personal struggles or frustrations when it comes to writing regularly and fitting the practice of writing into your life.
What does writing mean to you? Is it a hobby? A discipline? A lifeline? Consider writing a letter or blog post sharing what the act of writing means to you.
How open are you when it comes to sharing your current writing process? Do you tend to share your ideas and work early on, or do you prefer to keep it private and held close for a while?
Share your thoughts in the comments and/or link-up below!
Then come back Wednesday as we chat about the next topic, SEND. Click here for a list of topic suggestions for Chapter 6.
I was only going to comment, not planned to write a post on this but then your post…well, it just all seems to fit with what’s been going on in my life. God’s timing is always at work, sometimes I just recognize it a little more 😉 Thanks Kate, for your dedication and commitment to serving the blogging community. I don’t know how you do it all but am thankful you are answering the all placed on your heart.
Loved your post, Debby! Thank you for reading, commenting, writing, and linking up! So glad to have you with us!
This is one of the hardest things for me sometimes. Since my job, includes sometimes writing sermons, newsletter articles etc, the writing on the blog can often seem like such a challenging task. I find that sometimes I indeed just have to sit down and write. I should try more to go to Panera and other places by myself because I think that would help.
I can relate to that. When I was in seminary I wrote nothing but papers. When I started writing sermons and class curriculum, my blog disappeared. Now that I’m not working anymore, I find I have the energy to write – but the truth was I was writing (and a writer) all along. My work was just published in a different format.
Now, I am using content from past sermons and classes on my blog. It is really helpful in life (which seems to get in my way for writing as I commented below).
(Caribou coffee used to be my place to write. It really makes a difference when there is a place where you do the same thing every time.)
Good point about being able to use that former content in new ways and places, Leah!
Sharing too early is a problem for me. I believe I want to share to get validation. I rarely get validation because even if someone says something positive I feel unready to accept a compliment because I know I haven’t fully developed my ideas. I need to fight the urge to share.
It’s interesting to think about how early we share what we’re writing about. I think I sometimes find it helpful to share ideas I have because seeing how people respond and whether they seem to connect with the idea helps me to know whether it’s something to take further or not. But I think once I have decided to write something I can see the danger of sharing the details of it too early. I liked Ann’s point in the video that once you speak something out, it can be hard to hold onto it and transfer it into written form.
This is a good insight. I think I struggle with that, too. I read once that when we share our ideas for writing a book (and receive the positive feedback we seek), our brain releases the feel good endorphins and we feel as if we have already accomplished the task of writing the book. So the hard work just doesn’t get done. I’ve gotta stop doing that.
Hah, Gabriele, I understand *exactly* where you’re coming from!
Over the past week I have made an offer on a house, agreed on a counter offer, had an inspection on said house, sent my husband on a plane to Colorado, received confirmation that the seller will do requested work on house, enrolled my son for the new school district, gone to the school open house, and dropped my son off for his first day at the new school, in the new district where we don’t even live yet.
That said: Life. Life gets in the way of my writing. Last week’s chapter on Surround struck a cord with me because Charity’s statement “All I was writing about was motherhood and marriage… where had the rest of my life gone?” has been my constant question for the past 6 years. If I’m not writing about motherhood, I am mothering. I felt as a new mom that I lost any ability to do anything else and as a slightly older mom the life duties of being the stay at home mom continue to take over.
I wanted to be part of this discussion last week, but life got in the way.
I am learning that when life is maddening and I just want to get off, I need to let myself take a break from work- from writing. Last week family was more important. Last week resting was absolutely necessary. Without the rest I took yesterday, for example, I wouldn’t be here today.
I am also creating rituals in my writing. When my 3 year old starts pre-school, his time there is going to be untouchable. I must use the time I have to write or I won’t. When ideas pop into my head, I quickly jot them down in Evernote in my “Idea Board” folder. If I have the beginning of an idea and feel I must write, I drop everything for that idea.
I used to believe writing was all inspiration, I am learning it is a practice. I am grateful for the times when practice turns into inspiration, but I know that in order for those moments to come, I need to discipline myself to sit down and just do it. Whether I feel it or not.
Wow Leah! You are BUSY! I hope you’ll write on last weeks discussion even if you can’t link. Hust to have the prompts and write has helped me so much! It has helped me clarify my thoughts and made me want to look for things to write about and to take pictures of to include with my posts. I don’t ever want to get caught up in followers, but I do want to improve for me.
Oh my GOODNESS! I got tired and overwhelmed just *reading* about all you’ve been through! And you’re still here to tell the tale! Incredible! 😉
So glad to know that the Lord has sustained you, Leah, and continues to do so! Glad that you were able (and wise enough) to incorporate rest into your chaotic transition!
I appreciated this line: “I used to believe writing was all inspiration, I am learning it is a practice.” Me too!
Thanks for being here, especially in spite of this busy season! Strength to you and your family as you continue to shift into a “new normal.”
Kate! I cannot tell you how much I am getting out of this discussion. I don’t know how you got Ann and Charity to do this with you; but it’s just been SO good! I’m looking forward to the rest of it. Just wanted you to know 😉
Thank you for that encouragement, Christy! I’m so glad it has been beneficial, and that you’ve been able to participate!
Ditto number two and about one million thanks, Kate, for organising this. I can’t tell you how much this online discussion has helped me (thank you!)
So very happy to hear that! I’m thrilled to know it has been useful to you. Great to have you with us!
This chapter was so good and so needed, as I have 4 writing assignments to complete this month, two blog posts and two talks. That may not be much for more regular writers but for me, I’m swamped!! I need to sit down and put thoughts to pen to paper. Y’all pray for me!
This chapter also dealt with a huge stumbling block in my writing, perfectionism. I think my struggle with perfectionism stems from the belief that my words are not good enough, and that they are mine rather than the Lord’s. When I commit my words to Him, seek the words He would have me to write, and rely on Him for the process and results, then I’m able to trust, not that my words are perfect, but that He is using my words for His glory. When I write in my own strength, perfectionism and fear of man conspire to stay my hand and impede my writing. I gotta remember to seek the Lord for the right words and trust Him for the fruit.
I also appreciated the comment on the video about sharing content too early. I am a verbal processor, so it does help when I “talk it out”, but there’s a fine balance between sharing to help me clarify and improve my piece versus sharing too soon and stealing ideas from my brain before they are developed enough to recall them again when I go to write.
By the way, I’ve been in Panera all morning and have not written anything that I NEED to write. Y’all pray for me!
Kristie, I continue to be blessed and inspired by you, just from your comments in this discussion! Your priorities shine through, and you’ve encouraged me to be more thoughtful about how I spend my time, how I prioritize and manage my commitments, and what my goals should be. So, thank you! And I did read this comment on my phone when you first posted it, and I prayed that you would have a productive day! I hope you did, and that the Lord will continue to use you and your gifts for His glory. Strength and blessings to you!