When I wrote my first novel, I worked a full-time job, had two kids in school which meant football games, practices, etc. I was taking a weekly creative writing class as well as dealing with health issues. I had a lot going on.
I didn’t publish anything in 2015 – worked on a couple of stories but failed to finish anything.
Flash forward to 2016: My kids have graduated so no more practices or games. That, in and of itself, freed up all kinds of time. I still work a full-time job but I’m usually home just a few minutes after five. Logically, I should have been whipping out the words only that wasn’t happening. In fact, short of my blog posts, I wasn’t making any significant headway with my writing – particularly with my current WIP.
So what was the problem?
It wasn’t writers block or my super busy life. We have an on-going home remodeling project but that doesn’t take anymore time than picking my kids up from practices and attending football games.
My problem came down to accountability.
Back when I was writing my first book, my creative writing class sort of morphed into a critique group – same instructor – only we started bringing in what we were working on. We shared excerpts of our work, offered and received honest critiques and we made progress.
Over the past year or so, I let other things get in the way of my writing. It started with a “just this one time” and became an “I’ll write later” kind of situation. It’s amazing how easy it was to justify my lack of progress. I mean seriously, The Big Bang Theory couldn’t be missed and trolling Facebook – that was okay because I was just too tired to even think about connecting a subject to a predicate.
Only the excuses wore thin and I was left facing the truth. My book wasn’t going to write itself and the literary fairies weren’t knocking at my door.
So a couple of weeks ago, at our last book signing, we decided to give the critique group another try and seeing as how I couldn’t go empty handed, I took advantage of those spare moments. My characters, who had all but given up on me ever taking the time to listen, roused from their slumber and excitedly shared their stories.
I listened and I wrote and I made some real headway with my story.
And it’s been wonderful.