One Day More by Heather Kelly

How many days does it take to write an imaginative picture book, a compelling short story?, an irresistible novel?

How many days?

Are you firing up the excel worksheet? Are algebraic equations dancing in your head?

Are you shaking that head? Saying, “Heather, that’s even more unknowable than how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.”

Surely the answer is different for each writer, and each WIP. Right?

I beg to differ. I think it takes exactly…

ONE DAY MORE:

I am not above being completely sappy, and comparing our writing struggles to the plights of the characters in Les Mis, in order to get a point across.🙂 Also, if none of this works for you, feel free to act out your WIP with legos as inspiration.

Ignore the doubtful voices which swell up in your head, telling you how much work still remains on your magnum opus. Telling you that you need to revise for three months, write 75K–whatever you think the magic formula might be.

Rise up and tear down the barricade. Wage war on your doubts. Just write for…

ONE DAY MORE.

There are so many unknowns in writing, and when we realize we need to change our tactics, or learn something new, or cut a character, the new tasks can be daunting. If we focus on the entirety of what lies ahead of us, we might feel too overwhelmed to continue.

Just keep on, as Marius did, when he realized that, instead of following his love, he needed to fight beside his friends in the Revolution. Just write for…

ONE DAY MORE.

Getting frustrated over how many days we’ve already spent on this work, or comparing our writing process with that of other writers, or thinking that everyone else writes faster, prevents us from getting words on the page.

Filling us with despair as surely as Javert was filled with despair when he realized how wrong he was about Jean Valjean. Just write for…

ONE DAY MORE.

Taking criticisms or submission rejections personally will keep us from seeing our work objectively. Of putting our best foot forward, and putting our work out there. Of getting our work to the next level. If we don’t believe in our work, nobody else will.

We will steal opportunity from ourselves as surely as the Innkeepers stole from, well, everybody. Just submit for…

ONE DAY MORE.

Didn’t reach our goals last week, last month, last year? We can’t let the past get in the way of what we have to give to our WIP.

Just like Eponine didn’t let unrequited love get in the way of living a life dedicated to Marius. Let yesterday go. Just write for…

ONE DAY MORE

This WIP will take as long as it takes. The only thing we can do as master crafters is to give it the time to grow as it will, with each new word, phrase, and scene.

Just as Jean Valjean dedicated each day to protecting those he loved. Just write for…

ONE MORE DAY.

We can do that right? Write for…

ONE. DAY. MORE.

6 comments

  1. What a fantastic message Heather! I’m printing this out, and keeping it close to my work station. When I feel a bit low, or I’ve missed a day, I’m going to re-read this. Thank you SO much for writing it!
    Tami

  2. Just what I needed to read! We get so hung-up on what we haven’t done, or all the work that will need to be done — it can stop us from sitting down and writing today.

    Thank you.

  3. @Tami–I’m so glad it struck a chord. Writing can be an overwhelming business if we let it.🙂

    @Amy–You’re welcome. Most days I have to keep myself from saying the ‘I shoulds’. I should be done by now, I should know how to (insert writing struggle here). I have to let things take as long as they need to take!

    @Mike–Yup, we need a bit of myopia to survive this profession. Just see today. Not endless anything.🙂

    @Karen–I need this post every day. LOL. Thanks for the kind comment!

  4. This is kind of the best post ever. Except in my head, I was trying to fit all the words to the tune of One Day More, which wasn’t quite working. But it’s still just as good, even without that.

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