Dang.. how is it already January?
What better way to start this year out than laying out some of my January Writing Goals – particularly, because it is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day, in terms of how I’m a bit unsure of myself as I approach them.
Goal 1) For the month of January only I’m going to aim to write at least 500 words every single day. Part of this is a challenge that I’m doing with a few friends (we all have projects we need to make progress on) and part is because I’ve decided to give the monthly writing challenge a try over on Twitter. I’m worried because, while I can pretty easily scribble out 500 words of something daily, I have a goal to make these 500 useful words. Blog posts, fiction writing or rewriting… I am looking to write 500 words of USABLE words a day. Some days this will be simple enough, but I am worried that I won’t be able to make it happen every single day of the month. And if I don’t, will I be able to allow myself to not just give up and throw the entire goal away?
Goal 2) Write more blog posts to contribute to other blog-sites (starting with Comparative Geeks, Part-Time Monster, and perhaps some for Hannah Reads Books, if she’ll have me. I’ve written for these guys before, am welcome to again, but I have to do two things to make it happen. First, I need to figure out what I want to write for them. Then I need to follow through. I know I can do this, I put together blog posts here pretty regularly after all. But as soon as I start writing for someone else’s blog, I start to overthink and over-analyze. Will what I write be good enough for them? Will they decide I’m a HORRIBLE WRITER and never let me submit anything ever again, and decide that they hate me for it? I mean, I know these aren’t all true (at least I hope not!) it doesn’t make it easier to shut that anxiety-ridden part of my brain off. Which means having to push through that to make the writing happen. It’s impossible to be told your writing sucks if you don’t actually put it out there. Of course, then you also never get to say what you want to say and the ideas behind the posts never get shared.
Goal 3) Begin to work on the re-writes for The Novel I’ve had sitting on the shelf for far to long. I am feeling drawn to it again, and I desperately want to make the changes I know need to be made so that I can finally get some other eyes on it. I’m nervous about this, though, because it has been on the shelf for over a year. What if I start in on it and realize that it’s a lost cause? What if I put in all the work and let a few trusted friends read it, and they think it’s terrible? Then what? I know I have to push past these fears, put in the work and make the story what I know it can be… it’s just a hard thing to push myself back into after so long away!
As for the question of the month:
What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?
This one is easy.
I started writing as an escape during the late Middle School years. By the time I took my first creative writing class (late High School), I’d already learned a lot of the writing basics through my own trial-and-error, and thanks to being a rather avid reader. The problem was, somewhere before I even thought to consider myself a writer, I heard the rule: Write what you know.
I absolutely hate this “rule.” When taken literally it severely limits the writer, keeps you from being able to really embrace where your creativity wants to take you. I thought it meant that the only writing I could ever hope to do would deal with a girl like me. And a girl like me didn’t have a whole lot exciting to write about. I later came to interpret it as meaning that I should dig through my own experiences to help inform my characters reactions and feelings. I draw on conversations I can actually imagine happening to help me write dialog (I’m rather proud of my dialog, I’ve been told by a few people over the years that my dialog is very “real,” in a good way. It’s one of those things I hold onto, for when the writing gets tough). I let “what I know” inform my writing – but I certainly don’t limit myself to writing experiences I have actually lived. It took far longer than I like, but I finally gave myself permission to take these rules that don’t serve me and throw them right out the window.
This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection! More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.