During the break between Rounds Three and Four, I read a couple of thoughtful explorations concerning the plethora of confusing writing advice out there. Claire Legrand wrote this post, and our own fearless leader, Kait Nolan, responded and expanded here.
If you’ve been around the writing blog circuit at all lately, you know what they are talking about: the constant stream of “write each day. . . don’t write every day . . . plot everything before you start . . . don’t even outline because it ruins the freshness of creativity . . . you must write at least 3 books a year . . . how fast you write doesn’t matter, but how well you write does.”
As Claire and Kait point out in their posts, none of this advice is a magic bullet. It does not matter if you are a pantser, a plotter, or a puzzler (a nod toRuth Nestvold for that handy appellation). It does not matter if you write every day or only every weekend. It does not matter if you write 250 words at a go, or 8K.
What does matter? Having goals, figuring out your own way of reaching them, and transforming those ways into habits.
To quote Kait again, this time from her opening post for this Round, accept failing small. Accept that the habit won’t stick the first day out of the gate and be okay with that. In other words, get out of your own way.
If you’re new to ROW80, let me introduce myself. I used to have a black belt in getting in my own way–if I wasn’t perfect, I was a failure. Not surprisingly, I found a lot of things that don’t work for me, until I started listening to myself instead of every other writer on the planet. I’m still finding what works for me and making habits out of those discoveries. But what I have found is the desire to get out of my own way.
If you march to a different drummer, whether it be writing 250 words every day of the year, or writing 20k one day out of every thirty, embrace it, sing with it, soar with it.
The beauty of ROW80 is that it is “the writing challenge that knows you have a life.” I’d like to add, “and your own way of writing.”