15 Habits of Great Writers: Day 4 – Practice

I’ve been posting a day behind. Just saying that in my head is confusing, even more so by written word. See when I first decided to start the 15 Habits of Great Writers series, I did the first couple of days together. But, because I don’t typically post more than once per day on the blog (and in the past sometimes not even once a month *blush*), I tried to break it up. So what I’ve been doing each day is writing about my experience of the day, then scheduling the post on my blog for the next morning. So, for example, today I’m writing about my Day 4 (which is today for me) but then (in keeping with short tradition) I would schedule it to post tomorrow … so that it would seem like tomorrow is my Day 4. Wow! That really is too confusing and completely unnecessary. Today (Monday) is my Day 4 – Practice. So here’s my post.

For Day 4 of the series, Jeff talks about daily practice. Not rehearsal or preparation, but actually doing it. He says it’s like any other profession. So back when I was a practicing attorney, I practiced every day … meaning I worked as an attorney every day. Writing should be the same way. It is a profession. I am a professional. I should be practicing every day. I should be writing every day. Not preparing to write. Not thinking about writing. Actually writing.

He also challenges the participants to practice publically, i.e., do something that makes your writing profession a public one, not just one you do in the privacy (safety) of your own shell. But he doesn’t just mean setting up the laptop at Starbucks for the day.  And he even gives a couple of suggestions for how to practice in public.

One is submitting a book proposal, not just working on it but actually submitting it. Well, I’ve never written a book proposal before and don’t have one started. I’ve written other proposals and am sure I could figure it out but I think it’d take me more than the day. So here’s what I did instead: I reached out to a company that assists in self-publishing. I actually told them my name and contact information. I’ve gotten a couple of auto-emails back with general information and a promise that a representative will be calling me today to discuss options. That’s pretty public.

Another thing Jeff suggests is taking a risk, i.e., publishing something on your blog that you’ve never shared with anyone. This one is big for me. Now I’m an open book about a great many things EXCEPT my current writing projects. I mentioned before that I’ve been working on the same novel for about 5 years … well, I’ve never let a single person read a single word of any of it. Not even my husband, and it drives him batty. I’ve only shared the general idea of it with a handful of people and am usually as vague and nonsensical as I can be when doing so. It’s like I treat it like a big secret that can’t be revealed until it’s done.

Well, I have a new current writing project. One that sprung up in a conversation with my husband (his idea) after church yesterday and one that has consumed my mind ever since. We spent all day yesterday talking through ideas, making notes and storylines. It’s a multi-book idea for certain. And I was up until 3 a.m. writing on it. Here’s what my bedroom wall looks like so far:

Notes (and visual reminders) of the new multi-book project I’m working on

So it’s not done yet, but I’m already talking about it and have reached out regarding self-publishing. I believe this satisfies the risk-taking challenge. Now, excuse me, while I go hide from the sun for a little while longer.

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