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Lent, the writers’ strike and Laurie Halse Anderson got me hooked

 



Writers write everyday, right?

 

I didn’t. I wasn’t always in a creative mood, or I was too tired from working a ten-hour shift and doing mom chores. There just wasn’t time. And that was okay, because I had my two dedicated-to-writing days a week. Except, my writing projects were taking too long to complete and I had ideas bouncing around my head like caffeinated ping pong balls.

 

What to do? I couldn’t quit my job – too many bills to pay. I was averaging six hours sleep a night and my cranky inner-demon bared her fangs all too often already without cutting back on sleep. So where to find a chunk of time?

 

Then Lent arrived. In previous years, I’ve given up chocolate (in all its forms) and alcohol (happy times were few) for forty days. Let me tell you, those forty days felt like four hundred. But, I always felt smugly satisfied when I managed to keep to my Lenten sacrifices. This year, in a moment of insanity, I decided to raise the bar and give up not only chocolate, the fifth and most important of the four major food groups, but also television, one of my favorite ways to relax before getting those six hours of sleep. Hey, I found a chunk of time. The writers’ strike made it easier because my shows were all reruns.

 

By the time I attended the SCBWI New England 2008 conference in April, I was well on my way to writing more frequently. At the conference, Laurie Halse Anderson gave an awesome and inspiring keynote address in which she challenged us to write for at least fifteen minute a day (yes, everyday) for twenty-one days. Laurie also told us to switch off our TVs.

 

I’ve kept up the fifteen minute a day challenge for more than twenty-one days (am I fabulous or what?) and now it’s part of my daily routine, along with brushing my teeth. I have established the habit and it’s one I’m happy with. During my daily fifteen minutes, I try to work on my current project because that helps keep me in the zone. Sometimes I look out the window and write about what I see. Other times I write dialogue between two of my characters, or between my protagonist and Darth Vader. Some days my fingers tap-dance across the keys, the fifteen minutes magically turn into one hundred and twenty. Other days, it’s like waltzing in quicksand, the fifteen minutes drag by like one hundred and twenty. Occasionally, I experience a flash of genius that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t cultivating my writing daily habit.

 

I no longer wait to be in the mood, or for my muse to pitch up, or for “the time”.

 

I am a writer – sometimes in fifteen minute increments, sometimes in much much more.

 

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
kellyrfineman
May. 23rd, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
You are, indeed, fabulous.
angeladegroot
May. 23rd, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Lent, Writers' Strike and Laurie Halse Anderson
I am all the more fabulous for knowing you. Thanks for ALL the LJ help. As you can see, I managed to load a picture. Recognize the birdhouse?

You are pretty fab yourself.
writerjenn
May. 23rd, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
"am I fabulous or what?"

Yes.

But I admire your abstention from chocolate even more than your dedication to writing. ;-)
angeladegroot
May. 23rd, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
Lent, writers' strike, etc.
Thank you - I believe there may be a sainthood in it for me ('cos of giving up chocs). So nice of you to read my entry. There could be a sainthood in it for you too!

lurban
May. 27th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)
Waltzing in quicksand. I love that.
I'll look forward to future posts.
angeladegroot
May. 27th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
Lent, writers' strike, etc.
Thank you. I'm still getting into the swing of things and need to find some more LJ time to visit friends' blogs and make some more friends. It's a pretty slow start. Thank you for friending me.

Debbie LOVED your book and was thrilled by your bookplate and awesome message.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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