By C.L. Beck
Last week I started my blog with the words, “In the 23 years we’ve lived in our small valley, we’ve never found the local fishing hole named New Canyon Lake. The last time we tried, we had a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and we still ended up light years away.”
I promised to give you an analogy this week. Ideas flitted through my mind about comparing burning brakes to burning desires to write, or comparing a GPS receiver to an outline.
Then I had an interesting week trying to get an online store set up for our photography business. With the exception of hitting the deadline for my column and an assignment for writing class, I didn’t write for the entire week. All I thought about were the greeting cards, t-shirts, and tote bags that eagerly waited being imprinted with our photos and placed in the store.
Every day, I became more annoyed. I grumbled to myself. Often I paced into the pantry, anxiously scanning the shelves for something to help. I’m sad to say, even chocolate didn’t dispel the gloom and anxiety.
What I needed to do was write. What I wanted to do was write. What I didn’t do was write. The other project seemed too important to spare the time. An underlying fear pervaded—if I interrupted my focus towards the online store, I’d lose track of what I was doing.
I did lose track—but not at the store. By the end of the week, my inner writing-GPS wasn’t sending out a strong signal anymore. Why? Because I’d ignored it for seven days. It now worked as well as the GPS we’d used to find New Canyon Lake. I ended up light years away from writing.
When I woke up on Sunday morning, I realized that all night long I’d dreamed about uploading pictures onto products, tagging them with key words, and setting retail prices. Not one little tiny dream about the characters that used to live in my head.
I’ve learned my lesson. No matter how consuming another of life’s projects is, a writer has to write everyday. Even if it’s only a few paragraphs. Otherwise the inner GPS will start to dim. Its battery will begin to die; the display will go fuzzy.
It’s hard coming back. I feel like I’ve lost my groove. And all because I didn’t take fifteen minutes out of each day to write.
If you’re ever in the same position, remember that stealing a few writing moments daily will amount to a lot of time saved later on. Heather Sellers, in her book Page after Page, says, “There is a famous quote: If you take one day off writing, your muse will take the next three."
It’s so true. I took a week off and now my muse is on a three week cruise to Fiji.
What books C.L. recommends:
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)
Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Jon Franklin
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne & Dave King
View C.L.’s other work: