Monday, January 30, 2017

Maintaining Writing Momentum as the February Doldrums Loom

Has your New Year's Resolution energy faded? Maybe you're feeling swamped, stuck, overwhelmed, sick of the bleak winter twilight? Is your daily word count dwindling down to the double-digits? You are not alone. I'm with you! Luckily, I have a couple of writer-friends who, when things get really dark, manage to lift me up and keep me moving forward.

Here are a few suggestions stemming from my friends' good advice and my piles of writing files! (Gosh, I love rhymes way too much.)

  • STEP AWAY from your computer (if you've clicked all the way to my website you've definitely been cyber-surfing too long). Run up and down your stairs ten times or walk around your block. Pet your dog or cat. Bake something from scratch. You get the idea. Spend a few hours living offline.
  • Make a coffee date with a writer friend or two. NOT a writing critique session so much as a check-in during which you honestly explore your current writing situations and help each other brainstorm a forward-moving plan. And, you know, drink coffee.
  • REVIEW YOUR PROJECTS. Select the manuscript or idea you MOST want to pursue EVEN IF it means leaving something unfinished. Give yourself permission to be inspired.
  • WRITE A TO-DO LIST. General or specific. Word-counts or research goals. Dates set aside for writing-only. Write it all down and post it somewhere you'll see it daily. Write lots of smiley faces on it and call it your friend.
  • KEEP LEARNING. Sometimes the best thing is to take a class or join a critique group. If that doesn't work for you this winter, here are some great writing tips and revision resources that are just a click away!
Have your first five pages professionally critiqued for free at the FIRST 5 PAGES WORKSHOP.

Read up on the business and craft of writing at PUBLISHING CRAWL.

Look for your dream agent (and discover awesome writer people) at LITERARY RAMBLES.

Join the Society for Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Sign up to read a Poem a Day from the ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS.

And remember, the springtime, the sun, the inspiration are surely on their way. Seriously, though, Emily Dickinson says it better:

I’ll tell you how the sun rose, —

A ribbon at a time.

(from her poem, A DAY)