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Just Keep Writing

If you’re like me, you write in fits and starts, not everyday like they say we should. I find that I get easily discouraged. I get gung ho about a project, work at it furiously for two months, receive some negative feedback from someone (which can range anywhere from doubts a non-writer friend expresses about the marketability of my idea during a casual conversation over lunch to critiques from a writers group to a formal rejection from a publisher) and then I quit writing completely.

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Months can go by while I re-organize my basement, practice Für Elise on the piano 500 times, get really strong at rock climbing again, and then recognize that I need to sit back down and start writing again. I may start a new project, start over on the one I was working on, or pick up the pieces where I left off, realizing that what I had written was actually pretty good. Why did I quit? How did I get so discouraged? Maybe because it’s easier to quit than to JUST KEEP WRITING.

Over the years I’ve hired a professional coach on and off. She’s wonderful, but this year I decided I needed someone who could do more than help me set deadlines. I needed a writing coach, someone who could give me feedback on what I’d written and help guide my project to fruition. And yet there are days when I don’t want critical feedback, when what I really need is for someone to say, “That’s so great that you’ve written ANYTHING. Keep going!!” Because it’s so easy for me to put 50 other things before my writing EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Eg of what’s on my To Do list today: walk the dog, train the dog, pack for camping trip, practice piano, put laundry away, make doctor’s appt, go to Target, Ikea, Pharmaca, grocery store, attend a meeting at the Grotto. And the list goes on.)

So for all those writers out there who get sidetracked and discouraged as easily as I do…JUST KEEP WRITING! It doesn’t matter how good it is. It doesn’t matter if it has a story arc. It doesn’t matter if it will ever get published. Because until you develop a Writing Habit, none of the rest matters. If you don’t have the discipline to write and keep writing and keep writing no matter how marketable your idea, no matter what feedback you get from others, no matter how farther you still have to go, you’ll never succeed as a writer. Take it from me. I have a lot of experience at not succeeding as a writer.

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