“In writing, forward motion is everything.”
We are all wayfarers: fellow travelers on the literary life’s highway. But we’re also way finders: We’re each finding a way to craft our own unique path to the writing life. That’s why I’m always heartened to hear about the many creative approaches people come up with to make their writing a priority in the midst of all the demands they face.
In a recent post called “Playing Around,” there was mention of making a commitment to writing just 10 minutes a day. Martha Moffett (marthaspencil.com), one of my cherished community of KWD readers, often leaves me inspiring comments. She recently sent me a note which I wanted to share with you here:
“Karin, your post rang a bell with me. When I embarked on my first novel, I literally had NO TIME; I had a full-time job and two young children, and I did all our housekeeping, shopping and cooking. At that time I rode a bike to work, from the upper West Side to East Side midtown, where I was copy chief at Ladies’ Home Journal. It dawned on me that if I gave up my bike ride and took the subway, I’d have 45 minutes twice a day in which to write.
“I bought a lined book and a good pen and started. Within a few days, I could enter my “zone” and pick up where I’d stopped the day before. I was writing with intensity; neighbors on the train told me that they spoke to me, even tapped my shoulder, and I was oblivious–was I mad at them? No, I was just writing my first novel.”
What a fantastic example of creative problem-solving! Even with a job and family to care for, Martha found a way to make her personal writing project a part of her day. When I heard Michael Korda speak years ago, someone asked him how he managed to write novels and nonfiction while holding down a high-powered job with a major publisher. He gave a no-nonsense, straightforward answer: He got up early and wrote before he went to work on week days and then spent time writing on weekends as well. Then he added the comment above: “In writing, forward motion is everything.” To me this means: Just keep writing, keep going, push forward, make it happen.
One of my writing buddies is giving this her own twist: She’s getting up earlier, beating the traffic, arriving at work before everyone else, and spending a quiet hour or so writing in her office. Another writing buddy and I have come up with a strategy to support each other: We’ve just started meeting the first and third Thursday of every month at 8 at a local coffee café and trading pages. She’s casting a fresh eye over my story, which is very helpful to me — and having a set timetable is helping her jump start her own YA novel in the midst of a full work schedule and an active family life.
My friend and mentor Coach Tully says that life isn’t a talent game, it’s a strategy game. So why not play around and come up with a strategy that works for you? Bravo, Martha — write on!