Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

Update for “initiate”

on June 7, 2012

Today is actually Day 3 of the Great Writers Series challenge so I thought I’d add a short further post to get myself caught up.

As you’ll see if you click the link, today’s word is Initiate.  Now, I’m a little unclear about what I’m supposed to be initiating but from that post, and the one it links to, it could either be initiating the writing of “something [I’m] scared of” or initiating a Daily Writing Habit.  I’m choosing the latter, mainly because I don’t understand the former: for me, the scary part of writing is letting others know what I’m doing, but the fear of sharing doesn’t generally prevent me from taking on any kind of written project.  On the other hand, I don’t write on a regular basis because it’s always been about responding to an idea or a feeling (since I left education, at any rate), and it will be interesting to see how it affects my writing if I do try to write every day.

So, according to Jeff’s bonus article for today, about how to form a Daily Writing Habit, I need to choose a spaceset a time and pick a goal.

In our house, space is an issue.  We don’t have any unused rooms, we are badly in need of storage solutions, no matter how many trips to IKEA we make in a year and we do own a desk but stopped using it because it’s in a corner of the dining room where prolonged sitting results in extremely cold feet and limited productivity.  Since we got our laptop we’ve found it much more comfortable and helpful to prepare sermons and Bible studies curled up in the living room, as well as enjoying using it for leisure activities too.  It’s also a great way to promote openness and accountability for internet use, for ourselves and our children.  So my natural space to choose would be the living room, but to make my writing time more distinct I’m going to choose a different place to sit from my usual corner, out of view of the television.  Because goodness knows, I am a multi-tasker in the worst possible way at times, so it’s best to limit the distractions.

For me, a time will also be difficult to set.   To make this a permanent thing I’m not going to be able to do the mornings and I need to find a time when distractions are at a minimum, which is sometimes in the afternoons and sometimes in the evening, as each of my weekdays is very different from the others.  I’ve therefore made a weekly plan, rather than a daily one, and I hope to write for an hour.  But it’s important to be prepared for unexpected developments.  I’ve just been reading Fiona’s post on this topic and she makes the important point that:

“The things we’d like to do are sacrificed in favour of the things we must do.”

In the end, writing is never going to be a “thing I must do”, when compared to my responsibilities as a wife, a mother, an employee, a Bible study leader, a daughter, a grand-daughter, a friend, etc.  So even after making a weekly plan, flexibility is key, and this is where the goal comes in.   I like Fiona’s idea of writing a minimum number of words every day as the goal, so that if things don’t go according to plan we can fit some writing in around everything else.  This morning in my two-hour stint resulted in just over 2000 words.  That counts as a pretty good day as it’s a new idea, so I’m setting 500 words – just a quarter of what I can do on a good day – as a goal for the hour I’m aiming at. That might be a few paragraphs of fiction, a blog post or another kind of writing but if I’ve written, that’s the main thing!

PS If anyone who’s participating can shed any light on the “scary writing” concept, please enlighten me!  I’d love to think that this project was encouraging me to explore something new, but I honestly can’t think of anything that I need to, or want to, write, that I’m holding back from.

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5 responses to “Update for “initiate”

  1. julia christine stephen says:

    I just wanted to point out that writing your blog is WRITING…and you seem to be quite good at it 🙂

    • northmum says:

      Thanks so much for saying that 🙂 I feel like I’m getting into my stride more with it but it certainly isn’t a regular habit – with this challenge I’m trying to post daily but often I can’t even manage once a week! There are so many different ways to write aren’t there and all of it must be helpful in some way or other!

      • julia christine stephen says:

        That’s true. There is also a habit to it, you will find that once you get into the habit of writing every day, you will miss it you can’t write. 🙂

  2. Fiona says:

    I agree – what you write is great! Re the “scary” concept, I’m sure it all depends on one’s point of view and levels of confidence, probably as with anything in life. Perhaps the role of writing in a person’s life – is it something done purely and simply for themselves, and are they happy to share it with others, or reluctant, and why? – makes a difference and makes it more or less scary. For me, it’s the fear of judgement: the “who does she think she is?” possibility. That’s embedded in my entire personality rather than being rooted specifically in me as a writer. If you’re not scared about any of it, I’m delighted for you – enjoy it! xxx

    • northmum says:

      That’s what I meant, really – it’s not the writing that I find scary, but the judgement of others who might well wonder why I presume to write things. However, I’m taking the bull by the horns (see my upcoming next post)!

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