Strengthening Your Writing “Muscle”

Today I’m the guest blogger at Melody Steiner’s site. Head over and see what I had to say about QR Codes to market your book. And now for the feature presentation, a message from Melody Steiner to you:

For those of you who’ve missed out thus far, I’m guest blogging for my writing pal, Sonja Hutchison.  By now, you’ve probably picked up on a theme for my posts:  how to write through the writer’s block, those dry spells when you may be struggling with the actual act of writing. The first two posts offered advice on getting out of the writing funk. Last week’s post offered more specific food for thought—to think outside the box. Today’s post focuses on writing as a discipline. Like any skill, it takes practice, devotion, and consistency to develop.

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(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com)

Think of writing as a work out regiment. You are building muscles. Your brain is drawing connections, associations, similar to muscle memory. If you are intentional and proactive in your approach to writing, you will become a writing machine. Before you know it, you’ll have those books cranked out and each one will be better than the last. But just like exercise, you can backslide. One day, you wake up and don’t feel like writing anymore. A dry spell hits, or writer’s block, or life gets in the way. And before you realize it, that muscle that you worked so hard to build is flabby and atrophied.

Here are a few tips on how to keep up the “strengthening regiment”:

1)     Get up earlier. Set your alarm for an hour or two earlier. If you can’t do it every day, just settle on one or two days a week to start.

2)     Take time-outs. During your lunch break at work, or nap time for the kids, find moments in your day to write. Even if it’s just a brief few paragraphs or a poem, any progress is good progress.

3)     Replace veg-out times with writing times. Instead of tuning out with the T.V. or video games to de-stress, try writing! It can be equally as therapeutic and twice as rewarding.

4)     Don’t be discouraged if you have a bad writing session. Like exercise, sometimes you just have a day that feels like you’ve made no progress. Two steps forward, and one step backward. In retrospect, you’ll see that you are making progress. Sometimes, it just takes a while to see it.

5)     When you “injure” yourself, walk it off and when you’re ready get up and try again. It could be a particularly devastating rejection letter. It could be a harsh critique from a writing buddy. In those wounded moments, it’s okay to take a break to heal. But when you’re finished weeping into a bowl of rocky road ice cream, you have to get up and get to writing again. It’s that simple.

Your writing journey is like all those sport feel-good movies. You’re Rudy Ruettiger, dreaming of playing football for Notre Dame. Michael Oher. Vince Papale. The Mighty Ducks. Like all of them, the road was not easy. The stars did not just magically align. No. It takes hard work, a lot of tears and sweat. And practice. And shouting. And more practice. Maybe an inspirational speech or two.

I hope this blog series has been informative, inspiring, and helpful to you as you continue your journey. I know it’s been helpful for me, as I’ve been able to take my own advice on multiple occasions this month. Thanks to Sonja for hosting! And please do stop by my blog to read her recent posts as well (you’ll see I’m not as disciplined as she is about keep up with my blog). Best of luck!

 
-Melody
 
ImageMelody Steiner enjoys the simple things in life—her husband, her kid, and good books about robots and aliens and crazy tech. A sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, she’s managed to mush all her favorite things together into a haphazard conundrum that she likes to refer to as a “novel.” She’s represented by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency. You can tolerate her musings by visiting her website, http://www.melodysteiner.wordpress.com or follow her Twitter account: @melody_steiner.
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