In late 2018, maybe early 2019, I joined a writers group in NYC. I remember, on my first time attending a meeting, how they highlighted the fact that many people join the group and leave after a less than perfect critique of their pieces. They were not kidding! I was prepared to be roughless torn apart on my first critique. But no! I mean, I pretty much had to write that whole piece again, but was such a helpful experience. And so, I never left the group. It has been helping me develop my voice, style, and WRITE!
How it works: I list myself on our critiques calendar and try to give myself at least 2 weeks to write or edit and work on the piece to be submitted. Then, instead of taking full advantage of those 2 weeks, I do the whole work within the 24 hours before submission. Can anyone relate?
I could say it was procrastinating (which I do too well with other creative areas of work), but it’s not the case with my writing. And today I was able to figure out why, in a few seconds lost (found!) through a full 40 minutes podcast episode.
My day is always hectic and unplanned, but my morning always start the same way: an early shower, where I pick a random episode from one of the many podcasts I follow, and enjoy my first, and possibly last, peaceful moments of my day. Today I was listening to the episode of Second Life featuring writer Kelly Oxford, when she said something like: “I need to be in the zone.” And it hit me: that’s it! That’s me!
I had seen many authors mentioning how they were different from Stephen King’s approach: “writing is work, so I get up, do my thing and write every day!” Like most of them, I also read Stephen’s King On Writing and love it. And like most of them, just forcing myself to write every day doesn’t work.
Unlike Stephen King and like Kelly Oxford, I need to be in the zone.
Let me explain. A couple of weekends ago, I was in my couch watching a movie and an idea for my lover’s novella came to mind. I started writing on my iPhone’s notes (I had nothing else around). I wrote two paragraphs before I got interrupted by someone walking inside the room and starting a conversation. A few days later, I set down for lunch and was decided to pick up where I had left. So I finished lunch and opened my laptop. Nothing. I tried again a few days later, and the best I could do was edit what was already there. That’s it. It’s gone. And now I have to wait for it to come back to me again.
I am now trying to make a habit of writing on weekends, at least. Let’s see how that goes…