An Accountability Story
As I sat down to think about the presentation I’m going to be giving tomorrow (I’m writing this on Thursday, May 28th—I always write my blog a couple of days early so if you ever have a question you want me to write about, message me early on in the week) on accountability, I had two initial thoughts: 1) I need a story to tell at the beginning of my talk, everybody loves a story, and 2) I’ve never needed motivation to sit down and write so what story am I going to tell?
And then smacked myself in the head.
There might have been some banging of my head against a nearby wall as well (thank goodness the next-door apartment is empty!).
I went through every single slide in my presentation and asked myself “have I done that?”
You know the answer was ‘yes’ to nearly every single slide!
I don’t even think about it. I have never thought about it. These are just things I do—things I’ve always done. (Which makes me a little bit worried that the information I’m giving will be obvious to everyone who is attending, but… well, it’s a little late to do anything about that).
And my mind just keeps coming back to Nora Roberts. When she was asked how she had written and published so many books (according to her Wikipedia page, she’s written 225 novels in the past thirty years, that’s seven and a half books a year!) she said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I’m a professional writer. I go to work every single day and I write. It’s that simple.”
I heard this when I was a new, budding author and it’s stuck with me. If I want to be a professional writer, I need to write. And if I don’t feel like writing? I find some way to get me there.
I free write.
I tell myself the story, which always devolves into actually writing dialogue and description (ie, the book).
I’ve used both human and non-human help for my entire writing career.
And that’s what I’m going to be talking about tomorrow in my webinar. All the different ways that I have used to get myself to sit down and write; to produce those words and get that book done.
For me, that means that I’ve written over twenty-five books in the past fifteen years. Yeah, it’s not as impressive as Roberts… it’s only one and a half books a year (can I count the 26 short stories I’ve written and published in my newsletter, do you think?). In any case, it means that I have, in fact, used each and every single one of the techniques I’m going to be talking about tomorrow, I just did it without thinking about it.
Sometimes it makes me wonder why people have trouble sitting down and writing. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they don’t have any trouble sitting down, it’s the writing part that’s the problem.
Of course, my answer to that is to plot, free write, talk to writer friends/critique group, or work with a book coach, among others. So, I added another section onto my talk about what to do if the words just don’t come when you do finally get that butt in chair.
Of course, I can’t possibly address all the different reasons why people suffer from writer’s block or whatever you want to call it, there are simply too many. But it’s generally agreed upon that the tips I give to get the words flowing are the same ones people use to cure the problem. And sometimes, especially in times like these, we simply need to gives ourselves a break.
Does all this help my need to think of a story to tell? No. Not really, because all the methods I go through in my talk are the story. They are the story of a writer trying to be a writer and doing absolutely everything in her power (and imagination) to become one.
So if you missed my talk on Friday, consider that this gives you a lot of that information and you can always contact me and ask for the link to a recording of the talk and hopefully very soon I’ll also be putting it up on YouTube.