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Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

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I’ve finished writing another story. I will not say it is complete, as there is a lot more that needs to be done. It is one of three stories that sat in the hard drive, ignored for what seems like years. The first one I completed and sent for feedback before Christmas. I have to proof and edit this one before I do the same again.

I’m not presenting this as a rule, but for me I need discipline when I write. That used to be choosing a time of day and setting that aside for writing. I cannot, unfortunately, do that with two kids and lots of chores around the house. I write when my other responsibilities have been met.

What I can do, and I have done, is sit my butt down and bull through the stories when I have the time to do so. With kids in bed and dishes done by 8:30 PM, if I ignore everything else – emails, my RSS feeds, Twitter, Google+ – I can get an hour of writing. I still need to “spool up,” get into the voice of the story, remind myself how the story was to move forward, get into gear. That can sometimes take 15 minutes as I read a few paragraphs and check notes. Most nights, I don’t get an hour, so sometimes by the time I’ve “spooled up,” it’s 15 or 20 minutes before bed.

And bed is important. It’s important that I get enough sleep so I can be patient and involved with my kids, helpful and interested for my wife, on the ball and in focus at work, and – importantly for this post – so that I can be creative in those minutes I get to actually write.

Listen, you might be different, but unless I get as close to eight hours of sleep as possible*, the bulling through is going to produce little of value. It still has to be done. It has to be done because once I’m out of practice, it’s that much harder to maintain discipline. Take a few nights to read Google+ or catch up with really interesting posts found through “The Browser,” and I won’t have the discipline to keep sitting down and writing. Too many nights giving writing a pass was what got me to the place where I have all these unfinished stories just lying around.

Too many night giving writing a pass and I stop calling myself a writer.

*preferably more, but that doesn’t really matter, because I’ve been told we never really ‘catch up’ when we have a massive sleep deficit

You can find “The Browser” here, but be prepared to lose time to lots of interesting articles.