Working The Writing Muscle…

on March 8, 2017 Leave a reply

Why does it take so long to lose ten pounds and so quick to put it back on?

Ah, did you think we were chatting about writing today?

Nope. Not yet. Right now, I’m in the deep puzzlement stage of how it took endless, hard work to shed those stubborn winter pounds last June, and how I felt like a rock star when I finally succeeded. I was determined to never gain more than two pounds again. Ever.

Then the winter hit. And my husband went away for a short while. I was left with children, and housework, and writing work, and laundry, and cooking, and the dog, and food shopping, and a lot of other things that bashed at me from all directions. It became so easy to just let myself indulge a bit. Especially during the frozen months where lasagna, and bread, and potato chips, and warm chocolate chip cookies soothed my nerves.

Soon, my habits began to change, and I ventured farther into the temple of temptation. I stuffed my face at night watching the Bachelor with brownies, had extra glasses of wine to warm me up, and rationalized why I needed to eat three slices of pizza instead of one.

Why was I so surprised when I stepped on the scale last week? Why was my horror so true and real? The facts were there. I had been overeating. I had gotten sloppy. My only exercise was going back and forth to the kitchen to refill my coffee cup, or getting the mail. What had I expected?

Now, let’s morph this back into writing.

Sometimes, you need to step away from the page. That’s for another blog post. But most of the time, you need to be writing on a daily basis to keep your creative Muse lean, mean, and a writing machine.

Why is it I avoid writing with every force of my being, yet when I finally settle in, I feel complete?

There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of good words committed to the page. Hell, even bad words are satisfying. Habitual writing serves an important purpose. It builds the muscle. Like good food, the writing Muse is healthy and productive. Feed it junk food, too much television, limited reading, and endless social media/Internet fun, and you have a very cranky, rusty Muse.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work on your book. Today, I spent hours editing, and my writing consists of this blog post. But even one blog posts means I’m keeping my fingers and thoughts limber. I’m keeping the creative juices flowing. But most importantly, I am battling the almighty monster of Resistance – which Steven Pressfield details beautifully in his book, The War of Art.

Some days are harder than others. When you struggle to get any words on the page, celebrate your successes with the small things that keep you in the game. The blog post, or long, thoughtful email, or a journal entry.

Stuck in the dark trenches of your book and wondering if you’ll ever find your way out?

Write one damn scene and stick it in the back. Anything. Sometimes, you just need to write something that interests you again to get unstuck. Who cares if it’s a shred of dialogue, some good sex, or a funny scene?

Any writing is a step forward.

Writing is a habit. A calling. A passion. A pain. It’s also like a muscle that needs to be used.

Write Naked comes out in three weeks. Here’s an excerpt to enjoy. Remember it’s up for preorder AND I’m giving away TEN free copies over on Goodreads, so click on over to my HOME page and enter to win!

I’m also over the moon at the amazing support and sheer love from other authors regarding this book. I’ll be featuring their special quotes week to week. Here’s one from the gorgeous, talented Katy Evans!

 

Writing is an art. But it is also a job. The longer you stay away from the work, the harder it is to begin again. It’s a battle warring inside our own minds, from the moment we think about sitting down to write. As Steven Pressfield says in The War of Art, it is “resistance rearing up with the sole purpose of distracting you from your goal.” How do you fight resistance and transform the act of writing into something that becomes a part of your daily life? Treat it like a muscle. Work it hard. Rest when needed. Stretch to stay flexible. Repeat. It’s a beautiful cycle of creativity, yet our minds fight us every single day. Physical exercise keeps our bodies healthy and strong. Writing keeps our souls balanced and fulfilled. Each day, I put my kids on the bus, take care of the dogs, click on Good Morning America, and make my coffee. As it brews, I go through my day, preparing myself to meet the upcoming challenges. This always

includes writing, though if I’m knee-deep in edits at the time, I keep my focus on revisions. I walk into my office, place my cup on my coffee warmer, and open e-mail. As I click through to see what I missed from the night before, and quickly check Facebook and Twitter, I try to keep in mind that this is just my warm-up. These are my stretches for the day. This is my routine; I cannot question myself. I ignore the internal pleas to do laundry and the phone call from an old friend who begs for a lunch date. I turn a blind eye to my too-long hair that desperately needs a trim, and the lack of Cheerios in the cupboard. These things can come later; life is waiting for me in all its messy, chaotic forms, but right now, right here, my only job is to write. By 9 a.m., I realize I’ve reached my social media limit, and I open my new pages. I reread the last few paragraphs, tinker, and get my mind back into my characters. I sip my coffee. I slip on my Bose headphones and turn on my iPod I always have a specific playlist for every book to help immerse myself in the story. It is eclectic, filled with old classics like Sinatra and Bennett, to my favorites such as Rob Thomas, Maroon 5, Lifehouse, Imagine Dragons, and Daughtry, all the way to soul-pumping top hits by Pitbull, Flo Rida, Chainsmokers, and yes, even the Bieb. Then, I write.

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