The age-old argument among writers is whether to write “something” daily or to wait until the muse whispers in your ear. In a way, I have an advantage in the fact that while I worked as a schoolteacher, I read nothing but nonfiction for nearly twenty years. To be a better writer, you have to be a reader of good fiction. I’m very behind on that part of my writing career. Reading a good book is like a child at Christmas. Being lost among most literary circles as to who is and who isn’t an up and coming writer, I tend to steer myself away from those activities. I confess, I’m ignorant. I do count reading fiction as part of my writing day. I find if I’m involved in some form or fashion with the role of a writer, then my muse hangs around to keep inspiring me.
I do many things all in the name of writing:
I actively write, I read and edit what I’ve already written, I read books or articles on writing, I read short stories or books to inspire my writing and show me how the pros do it. Or, I’m keeping records on things I’ve sent off (such as my rejection slips, things sold or published). I’m physically getting work ready to send work off (printing multiple copies, putting in envelopes, mailing, e-mailing or uploading online.) Last, I do research on agents and publishers, then set about writing my queries, cover letters, or synopsis if I’m that far along. Phew, there isn’t enough hours in my day to attend to all that needs to be done in the name of writing. As long as I’m doing something writing related, then my muse seems to hang around whispering to me in my dreams at night preventing the horrible writer’s block.
I’m not an advocate of sitting down to a blank sheet and writing (crap) because the gods deem that we write something every single day. I write when I’m inspired. But, by doing all the other activities related to writing, engaging the right side and left side of my brain in different activities, then I tend to keep myself in a constant state of inspiration. The bookkeeping, organizing, and research are as vital as the sitting down and typing away at the computer. On days that my muse has taken a coffee break, then I do the reading or the organizing part of writing. I also work on my query letters, adding things that I want to happen….claiming them. Many have come to pass. I project success in them. That is fun and keeps me very stimulated. When something doesn’t pan out, then I go change my query and put in another dream or goal. That alone keeps me ‘up’ and raring to go most of the time. Try this and see if your writing doesn’t take off.
Read and enjoy a good book and tell yourself, you are ‘writing’ when you do so, as it is vital to the writing process. Good luck and happy writing!