Zabowska's Blog

November 11, 2009

Writers have to limit extracurriculars

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 4:12 am

Today I will continue to reflect on why writers don’t finish their novels. One possible
reason is because writers say yes to other things and don’t make writing the novel
their number one commitment
.

Most book authors who are successful seem to limit themselves to only one
extracurricular activity when they are writing their book. The key difference between
successful book writers and failed, not-finishing book writers is that when they are
struggling with writing a book, the successful writer lets the extracurriculars go, not the
book-writing effort.

This means that for an extended period of time while the writer is writing his/her book
or novel, (s)he should have very little else on his/her plate. Now although this sounds
idealistic, I think it does merit at least some reflection for writers.

According to successful writers, when they are writing a book or novel, it takes up a lot
of space in their lives. They don’t over-book, over-commit or do anything else but their
writing. In other words, writers believe that in order to successfully write a book, they can’t
do a lot of other stuff. Things have to be put on hold until the writer is finished with the
book or novel. After the writer is done writing the book, (s)he can commit to other things
that are outside of the writing project.

I think that many of you reading this blog must be quite discontent with what I am
proposing here because it seems so unrealistic. Most people can’t have a life that is so
neatly contained around their writing. And that much is true. However, I do believe that
writers, myself included, commit to way too much stuff while they are writing a book or
novel, to the point where they are so tired and exhausted that their book takes on at best
a second or third place. And that may be one reason why writers don’t finish writing their
books or novels.

Many writers don’t make a realistic plan on how to fit writing into their daily lives.
Writers have to set up a book-writing life. They have to ease themselves into it so that
they’re not asking themselves to do too much, or to give up too much all at once. Most
writers just aren’t realistic about how much time it takes to write a book and what they’ll
have to sacrifice to do it right.

There are limits as to what you can do in your real life if you want to be a dedicated book
writer. If you’re not good at making time to sit down and write every day, give yourself
a month to learn how to do just that. Try to find fifteen minutes a day at first. Delete a
television show or meeting or quit doing the dishes after dinner. If you can’t do fifteen
minutes, start with five. Go sit in your writing room for five minutes each day for a month.
Do exercises or just let yourself daydream. Write by hand, slowly, making little notes and
sketches. Ease yourself into a disciplined writing life.

It’s like training for a race. You need to log miles of pages before you start writing the
actual book. If you don’t, your real life will probably hijack your book or novel. You will
lose ground. Months will pass, no book or novel is written, just a bunch of starts.

So fellow writers. Let’s train first, and then we’ll be able to write a novel. So, in future,
maybe we should get ready for nanowrimo in the summer or even spring. Start slowly.
And then when November comes, you will be ready to write your novel in a month and
you will be successful!

 Sunny

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