Capture Your Time and Write The Book!
Hello California Dreamers,
See you in two weeks. What? I know, I know, it is only the last week of October, but the way time is zipping by, Christmas will be here next week, and the end of March (and the California Dreamin’ Writers Conference) will be here the week after.
Time flies. Or it seems to more and more the older I get. Time–that ever precious non-renewable commodity. We all get only so much, and we don’t know how much–wow, there is nothing more precious! And yet, as writers we choose to spend a great deal of this limited commodity on our stories and our manuscripts. Since time is so precious and it takes a ton of it to write a great story, how can we, as writers, get the best bang for our buck?
Well, for me, the key to getting the most work accomplished on my story is the three C’s: concentration, commitment, and consistency.
Concentration. To concentrate in the age of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, smart phones, email, computers, IM and any other quick fix for information and communication is a feat tantamount to scaling Mount Everest in a bikini and flip flops. Tough stuff.
There are all kinds of programs that can force you to shut down the ever-present distractions such as Liberty and Freedom. Some will even eat your words if you fall afoul of the time limits you set. The thought makes me shudder.
For me, the best concentration comes in the form of shutting off the internet and getting my words first. First! This has meant waking up at early as 4 am. But I know that getting my words is something that will change my day. So if I can reach my word goal first, before the time vampires start to suck away my day, then I have succeeded.
Commitment. Yes, the second C for me means making myself put my a** in the chair every day. During a first draft, I commit to writing every day, no matter what.
Stephen King wrote that his characters ‘grow stale’ if he is away from them for long when he is writing his first draft, and I must admit, this is true for me as well. I lose that sense of intimacy that I feel for my story and my characters if I am away from them for long during the first draft, getting-to-know-you-phase, of our relationship.
Commitment in the form of writing every day during the first draft is paramount for me.
Consistency. Consistency comes in the form of getting my words first and every day when I’m first drafting, but consistency also comes with regard to my relationship with my writing.
I’ve always been a writer and my words have (thank you God!) always been there for me. Even during those years when I didn’t write, or was in denial about being a writer, or even those dark times when I’ve thrown my hands in the air and shouted to the Muse: ‘Done! I’m done!’ I wasn’t. I’m not. Nor will I ever be.
There is a consistency in this relationship that I have with my ability to tell stories. We’ve been together a long time, these stories and I.
I’ve surrendered to the fact that stories, both reading and writing them, will be a part of my life for the rest of the time that I have available to me. Therefore, I want to make the very most of that time.
I want to tell as many great stories as I can. For me to accomplish this goal I need concentration, commitment, and consistency.
And the Muse. Always the lovely Muse in my head.
Maggie Marr began her Hollywood career in the mail room and became a motion picture literary agent and a subsidiary rights agent where she had the privilege of turning great books into film and TV.
She lives and works in Los Angeles, and will serve as President of the Los Angeles Romance Authors chapter of RWA in 2015.