Monday, January 18, 2010

The Road I Travel

This past weekend I met with my writing accountability partners. We all know we want 2010 to be an awesome year for writing and I, for one, need all the help I could get.

2009 was a tough writing year for me, despite my Golden Heart final. I had periods where I wrote a lot and submitted, but I also had long times of drought where no words would come. My characters were utterly silent. There was no joy in what had once been one of the biggest sources of happiness in my life.

Why? Coming out of this "dark night of the soul” required me to ask myself this very question. I’ll be honest, I seriously considered giving up writing twice last year. I say this not to garner sympathy, but so you can understand that the writing journey isn’t all hilltops of flowing words and finished manuscripts. It can be a tough road to travel, as well.

But in asking myself “Why?”, I had to face the depths of fear and confusion hidden behind those silent periods. The fear that I’ll never publish a book. The fear that I’m not talented enough to be more than mediocre. The confusion over high contest placements and low editor interest. But in the end, all that matters is the story and my love for it. I decided that I was ready and eager to recommit to my writing. My accountability partners are ready to help me see that commitment through, for which I cannot thank them enough.

I knew that one of my Big Goals this year would be to establish a daily writing habit and to raise my writing time to a higher daily priority. So I decided to initiate a 30 Days of Writing Challenge. I’m committing myself to writing something, anything, every day in an attempt to form a daily writing habit. Whether it is one paragraph or ten pages, I must write or revise each day. This goes hand-in-hand with making my writing a priority in my daily life. I want it to be the first thing I do, not the last. I don’t want to get to the end of the day and realize that the one thing I wanted so very much to do – Write – I didn’t even touch. This isn’t going to be easy, but in recommitting myself to my characters, books, and talent, I’m willing to face this tough assignment.

For those of you who are writers, I’d love for you to join me in this experiment. I’ll be posting my progress on FaceBook (you can friend me under Danniele Worsham) and weekly checking in here on Mondays. Hearing about your progress would help inspire mine! For you readers out there, I know you can understand the emotions behind this struggle, even if writing isn’t your thing. We all have that one dream in life that both challenges and rewards us. Writing just happens to be mine.

What are your dreams and goals for 2010? What are you recommitting to this year – your writing, healthy living, relationships? What is the one thing that would really benefit from your focus for 30 full days?



M.V.Freeman said...

Considering I've been very silent recently--
I feel your pain.

My goals..they are to break through my own inadaquecies (and spelling difficulties) and go to the next level.

Amazing how those valley's fight to keep us there--but it takes committment, friends, and a whole lot faith to move forward.

You are going to do this!! :-)

Linda Winstead Jones said...

There are so many things that work to drag you away from writing -- other commitments, health issues (which really do mess with the brain's ability to create), self-doubt -- just to name a few. Making writing a habit is a very good solution to the problem. In many ways it's easier *not* to write than it is to write.

I'm trying to concentrate on healthy eating. Like looking for grass fed beef and organic everything and leaving off the processed food. It's a challenge, but I AM eating better.

Christine said...

Danniele, I will join you on this journey. I am struggling with my WIP because I want to bring it to a ST length. And now that DH is undergoing his surgery, it will be tempting and easy to put the writing last on the list.

I need this journey, too.

Good luck and hugs!

Playground Monitor said...

My muse has been silent for so long I'm considering having her tested for hearing loss. I've screamed at her, talked to her sweetly, tried to bribe her. She's not budging. So I put in my New Year's goals that I wanted to read more. Maybe she'll get tired of hearing about other people's stories and decide to tell her own.

Paula said...

I think half of productivity as a writer is getting in the habit of writing every day. Pages produces more pages.

When I was having problems trying to find my muse a few years back, I decided to change up the way I write. I became more of a plotter, trying to flesh out the basics of my book before I jumped into the story, thinking it might help me keep moving forward even when I wasn't really in the zone. I might be writing pure dreck, but at least it was dreck on the page that I could edit later.

I'm not saying everyone should choose that particular solution, mind you. Maybe you do that already and what you really need to do is throw away the synopsis and just write off the top of your head and see where it takes you. The main thing is changing what you're doing now, if it's not getting words on the page.

Good luck, Danniele!

Angel said...

We'll do it together, M.V. and Christine!!! I feel very positive about this (even though I chose to start on a day when I have 4 kids at home with me) :)

Linda, Healthier eating is also one of my goals this year. Actually, I'm terming it as "taking control of my own health". I've started a food journal and researching homeopathic treatments for my health issues. I've gone the medicine route for 6 years with no progress, so I'm going to try something new for 6 months. I can always go back on the meds if I have to.

Angel said...

You'll get there, PM! You are too good a writer not to. Once you get settled into this new life, you're muse with start speaking loud and clear. She just needs to be treated gently at the moment. :)


Angel said...

Thanks for the advice, Paula! While I haven't gone completely new in my direction for approaching a book, I'm trying to remember to change it up if I get stuck. If the alphie isn't working, picking up a pen and paper to get me started. Instead of pushing ahead to get through a stubborn scene, stopping to ask myself why it isn't working and going back to revise (normally I wait until the end of the book to do any revisions). That sort of thing.

It is helping. Still frustrating, but I'm making forward progress. :)


Vicki Lewis Thompson said...

You go, Angel! I was just reading last night that once a person commits to something fully, change happens. And you've done that. Yay, you!

My major goal this year is to become more flexible, both physically and mentally. I'm edging back into yoga for #1, and keeping an open mind for #2.

Sherry Werth said...

I love the idea of having an accountability partner for my writing. I haven't thought of it that way, but that's what keeps me in line with my exercise regimen. If you don't show up, you have people calling you to find out why!

I think the challenge is a wonderful idea to kick-start the writing process. Count me in!

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

I'm glad you've found a way to push forward. I'm still looking, although I'm feeling more optimistic this week.

Katherine Bone said...

You've chosen the trail. You've mapped out a course and a time table. When your muscles (brain muscles) tire, climb another few feet even though it hurts. You may hit the wall, but muscle memory will kick in to carry you through the rain, sleet and snow (writing, revisions/editing, and submitting).

Hike that trail out of the valley, Angel. I guarantee the view will be spectacular when you reach the summit!

Count me in on this journey too!

Crystal Posey said...

I've been lurking for a bit and am enjoying the blog :)

My goal for 2010 is to write at least three hours every day, monday through friday. Good luck with yours!

Vivi Andrews said...

Go Danniele! It's all about the habit.

My problem is I binge on writing and then do nothing for a chunk of time. I'm trying to bully myself out of the lags between projects so a commitment to EVERY SINGLE DAY sounds like just the thing. I'm in.

Naima Simone said...

Danniele, I so understand where you were and where you are. Writing is one of the most important and rewarding things in my life and it's also one of the hardest. I have to thank you for being so open with us about what you experienced in 2009. Sometimes it's hard for us to admit that this just isn't easy and the desire to pursue it sometimes falters in the face of insecurities and doubts. It's human. But it's also our reaction afterward that determines what we're made of. And you are made of tough stuff!

I'll join you in the challenge starting today. I'm going to keep a daily log for the next 30 days of my word count and keep up with you on Facebook! I think it's an awesome challenge! Good for you and you've inspired me!

LeaannS said...

I think a lot of times when we find ourselves avoiding doing something, whether it's a diet or writing or anything else, we don't realize that it is fear of failure holding us back. Sometimes it seems easier to not try than to try and possibly fail. You've kept trying, otherwise you'd still be in the drought and not looking for a way out. Good work!

You've been through a lot, Angel. But you're also one of the toughest cookies to break I have ever seen. You'll get there, and we'll be right alongside you cheering all the way.

Heck, I even braved Facebook to join that challenge. That's truly scary! :)

Angel said...

Sherry, Accountability partners can be great, as long as the accountability isn't all one-sided. :) You both have to be striving and holding each other accountable for your goals, that way all the work doesn't fall to one person. That person will just get burnt out. Not good!

The great thing about accountability partners is it is easier than being a critique partner. Keeping up with each other's progress is much less time consuming and in some ways much more important. Now, my accountability partners do occassionally critique for each other, but we don't have to and it isn't on a regular basis. Trust me, it is a great relationship to have!


Angel said...

Thanks, Kathy!!! Besides the Playfriends, Kathy has been one of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders. I'm indebted to her optimism, because my own has run so low in the past year. Love ya girl!


Angel said...

Good luck, Crystal! My own goal includes 2 hours of writing M-F. This is a big step for me, because I've never put a time limit on it. In truth, I could do it, but I haven't made myself before now. Now is the time to make that priority commitment!


Angel said...

Thank you so much, Naimi and Leaann, for your kind words! Many days I feel like jello instead of steel, but I'm exercising that backbone, just the same. :)

I'm so glad to see so many of you joining this challenge! Whether you do it silently or in front of a group, I think it can never be bad for writers to recommit themselves to their craft at the beginning of each year. Thank you for encouraging and inspiring me!


Problem Child said...

I now know that I can't post to the blog from my iPhone. Sigh.

It was brilliant and heartfelt and honest and I'm too lazy to retype it now.

Diana Layne said...

Well, I don't have facebook but I'll try to remember to stop back here on Mondays and check your progress. I can certainly identify, I've even given up writing for a while but I wasn't happy then either. I'm happier now than I've ever been since I am writing daily. I saw you said something about a time limit. I would suggest if your brain starts wandering (mine is bad about that) to set a timer for 10 minutes and write as hard as you can. Take a quick break (I lift weights for a couple of minutes) then go again. Helps if you have a short attention span like me.