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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekly Writing Recap

Major Revision/Rewrite of Inspirational Historical #3
Status: 49,000 words out of 100,000

Words added/rewritten this week: 7,000


I enjoyed my second week in a row in which I made good progress on my story. I attribute this to the new approach I've taken in regards to my writing.

And what might that be?

I had a revelation. When you hear what it is, you may wonder why it took me so long to become enlightened.

I made my writing a priority.

Yup. That's it.

Sounds simple in theory, I know, but I'd struggled to fit my writing in around the many items on my To-do List for so long that tending to tasks first had become a habit. My rationale was that if I got those pesky have-to's done, I wouldn't be distracted by thoughts of the things I should be doing while I was writing.

What I did the past couple of weeks was write before I tackled my To-do's. Sitting down at the computer and opening my manuscript file first felt foreign. My fingers ached to click the icon for my email program or my Web browser, but I remained firm.

Great things took place. First, I've had two weeks with word counts I like to report instead of the measly ones I'd been forced to post previously. Second, I discovered, much to my surprise and delight, that the other tasks still got done.

I was reminded of Parkinson's Law, "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion," which Cyril Northcote Parkinson first postulated in an essay for The Economist back in 1955. Because I had less time to accomplish the items I had to do, I worked more efficiently and faster.

I've not yet reached the point where I rush to my computer eager to begin writing with no thoughts of the other things requiring my attention. The pull of projects on my lists is strong, but I will persevere. It takes time for a new behavior to become habit. I'm tenacious and goal-oriented, though, so I have hope that I will become a more disciplined writer who has good progress to post each week.

• • • • •

Do you struggle, as I do, to make writing a priority? Or are you one of those writers who remains focused and isn't distracted by all that needs to be done? If so, what are your secrets? I'd love to hear them.


Jarmara Falconer said...

I'm busy rewriting my first novel. My problem is trying hard to stay focus on my own belief in my ability when other keep trying to tell you that they know best. I'll more than willing to listen to other like editor, publisher and agents.

I feel one must have complete faith in oneself to stay focus.

Good luck with your writing Keli

Keli Gwyn said...


Thanks for stopping by and sharing some of your journey. I hope your rewrite is going well and that you're happy with the results.

Congratulations on completing your first book. That is a quite a feat. And kudos to you for working on craft and realizing the need for a rewrite. It takes times to learn to write a good story and even longer to write one that will interest agents and editors.

I've completed five stories, shelved a contemporary that wasn't working for me and am now rewriting one of my historicals with characters who continue to captivate me and whose voices I hear calling, "Tell our story." I've learned a great deal since I began writing three and a half years ago, but there is always more to learn, isn't there?

I wish you a great writing week ahead.

Jessica said...

I think I'm like you. I always feel like if I just finish the chores first, then I can relax and write.
I need to do what you have. Yesterday and the day before I made myself write when some things still needed to be done, and it felt so good. Sitting down is tough but once I'm in the story I usually feel pretty good. :-)
Congrats on the word count and the revelation. LOL

Jill Kemerer said...

Woo-hoo!! Congratulations on keeping up that word count! Nice!

I'm one of those writers who feels that everything else is tearing me away from writing. Does that make sense? I'd gladly work on writing or writing related stuff all day, but life just won't let me!

Keep at it! I can't wait to read your announcement that you've finished the book!

Keli Gwyn said...


Sounds like you understand my struggle. We can support each other as we strive to silence the insistent cry of the chores and answer the call of our characters.

I'm glad you set some tasks aside so you could write the past couple of days and felt the joy. I'm learning that the To-do's will still be there when I return to the real world. :)

Keli Gwyn said...


Thanks for the words of encouragement. I look forward to the post when I share the news that I completed the rewrite.

Torn is an excellent way to describe my struggle. The many things vying for my attention are all good, which can make choosing the one to work on tough.

I made a minor adjustment in my mindset that has helped. I used to think of writing as a reward for getting everything else done. After all, I enjoy it so much that getting to write serves as a great motivator. But classifying writing as fun made me put it at the bottom of my list.

Now I tell myself writing is my work, albeit work that is lots of fun, and somehow that allows me to put it on my To-do list as a priority. Plus, I don't experience as much guilt when I write now because I'm working.