I have a problem, and I’m trying to get over it. It’s taking some time to heal, please bear with me.
My problem is this. I made my word of the year Create. I’m doing really well fulfilling that.
But when it comes to doing anything that’s not directly feeding into my goal of creating, I have a hard time committing to it.
I don’t mean things like loafing around, scrolling through Instagram or watching too much tv. (Though I did finally get caught up on Ray Donovan. Damn, that’s a fine show.)
I mean, it’s been really hard for me to do things like free writing, reading writing manuals and watching instructional videos. I haven’t even been listening to podcasts!
It’s not as bad as it might have been. I haven’t been neglecting my duties at home, and I’ve been taking good care of myself. I have been reading, of course. But I’m not doing anything to learn! And while I absolutely feel that the best way to learn to write is by writing, there are other things I need to learn.
I’m trying to get better.
I imagine that I’m not the only author who struggles with this. It’s hard enough trying to find time to write, edit and sell our books! Not to mention maintaining social media presence. How are we supposed to shove learning new things into our already full to do list? Aren’t I doing enough already?!
Okay, drama aside. Finding time to learn new things is essential. It’s a struggle for me because I’m super Type A psycho sometimes. But it’s all about baby steps, sometimes.
I’ve started listening to podcasts on my way to and from work. It’s better than what I was doing, reading a paper back book while walking down the damn street. Recently I’ve been catching up with Writing Excuses, and Bad With Money.
Finding good, inspirational books.
While I do love reading fiction, I’ve been making a point of reading informative books. The trick is to find a book that not only teaches you something but is enjoyable to read. Otherwise, you’re going to be a lot more inclined to get back to American Gods.
Sign up for emails that help you.
I recently took an email course that really taught me something about writing short stories. I love short stories, and I want to get better at writing them. Each email took a few minutes to read. I was then able to accomplish the ‘homework’ that came along with it.
Because I told myself that it was only going to take half an hour, I could do it. I also felt held accountable, since it was a class. Now I feel like I’m writing much better short stories.
Understand the importance of what you’re doing.
Recently I spent a whole two hours watching a great instructional Youtube video. I made myself sit down and watch the whole damn thing because I valued the information.
Doing things like free writing every day has been harder, until I started reading my second draft of Missing Stitches, preparing to write the third. That’s when I realized something. My descriptions need work!
So I’ve been making a point of writing descriptions in my free writing notebook. Every day I look up a picture of a house or a street on Google. Or I’ll go sit somewhere public and write a sketch of someone. And you know what? It’s helping. I didn’t think it would, but it is helping.
If there’s something you want to learn, understand the value of it. Don’t think about what you could have accomplished with this time. You’re accomplishing something by growing your education. And the work you do will be richer because of it.
Tell us something that you’ve learned recently that has improved your life or writing.