Saturday, September 13, 2014

One Year of Daily Writing

A little over a year ago I decided that I was finally going to make writing a priority in my life. After a summer of self-doubt and slight depression I knew I needed something for myself. I needed to be more than a mom and a wife and a volunteer. Not that I don’t love being all of those things. I do but I realized that I needed something that was entirely for me. I love to write and have done so off and on for most of my life. A year ago I even thought I was a pretty good writer. I decided last September that it was time for me to pursue my dream of being a published author. The first step in achieving that dream had to be to write. Obviously. It’s not that I didn’t know this but I had always relied on inspiration in my writing. I also allowed so many other things and situations to take the place of writing in my life. So last September I decided enough was enough and it was time to change all of that. It was time to put my butt in a chair and write everyday – no matter what.

I told my husband my plan and he nodded with encouragement. Then he asked, “For how long?” He wasn’t being cruel or unsupportive. My husband and I have been together for fourteen years. He knows me better than anyone. He has witnessed my stop-and-go writing habits. He knows how important writing is to me and wants me to succeed but he also knows that I used to allow other things to take precedence. So I looked him in the eyes and said, “One year.” That, I can honestly say, he didn’t believe. I can also say that it hurt a little bit to know immediately that he didn’t believe me. And strangely, I felt a strong burst of stubborn motivation. I looked at him and said again, “One year. Watch me do it.”

As of today I have written for 367 days straight. Two days ago I made certain to let my husband know I had made it a year. He grinned and said congratulations. Then he crossed his arms over his chest and said, “Now take a month off from writing.” Before he had even finished speaking I was shaking my head. Then I said, “No way.”

He wanted to know, “Why not?”

I told him, “I’m never going to stop writing again.”

“Good,” he said and hugged me before going to work on his music. I checked our kids’ homework, got them settled for the night and went to add up the numbers for my year of writing.

Yes, I kept track of exactly how much I wrote over the past year. I have a wall calendar over my desk where I jot down how many words I write every single day. It’s incredibly motivating. While the writing isn’t about how much I get done – seeing the numbers helps to keep me going when I hit a bad day. Another thing that kept me going (and will continue to do so) was being a part of the WriteChain Challenge. I never wanted to skip a day and start back at number one. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that occurrence but I didn’t want it for myself.

In case you’re wondering, I wrote 535,520 words over the past year. That breaks down to eight manuscripts and six short stories. I love five of those manuscripts, sort of still like two and know that one is not an example of what I’m really capable of writing. That’s my polite way of saying that I know it is crap. One of my short stories was published last Autumn and the others were more or less writing practice.

After one year of daily writing I know that I am really good at what I do. This past year built my confidence as a writer. I know for certain what my strengths and weaknesses are now. I know what I need to work on going forward. I also know that I will succeed because I won’t settle for anything less. In fact, I’ve already found success within myself.  Now it is time to reach out and grab the public success.

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