Saturday, 8 August 2009

Procrastination, Inspiration, perspiration, and sheer bloody mindedness

I managed to write the first draft of a 1,500 word article last night by shutting myself in the kitchen with my lap top and not allowing my bum to leave the seat until I'd finished the damn thing! I have been whining a lot, both on here and at home (in fact to anyone who will listen) how unproductive I feel I'm being at the moment in respect to short story writing. I have a few ideas written down but have been so preoccupied with article writing that I've let that side of my creative endeavours slide somewhat.

The trouble with me is that I want to do everything and I want to do it NOW!! I don't have enough hours in the day to do what I want with my writing and we all have commitments that must take priority over our writing. I have a tendency to become a little obsessive about writing and, if left to my own devices, would spend every spare hour of every day indulging in my beloved activity.

But how much is too much? When does writing become your life instead of the things that really matter such as family and friends. We are advised that if we want to become published writers we must be determined and write as often as we can. We should leave the housework and sit down and write. I know housework has never been my forte but if I sat down and wrote instead of doing the housework every time the writing bug bit me I would suffocate under ten feet of dust!

I am going to have to learn to slow down and prioritise my writing workload. I have to meet myself half way between what I want to write and what I can reasonbly expect to achieve. I am in danger of 'watering down' the quality of my work if I stretch myself too thinly and try to do too much. This is what I think has happened with some recent article submissions of mine that an editor was not happy with. I hold my hand up - my fault, lesson learned. I took on more than I could handle, but at least I gave it a chance - better to have written and lost than never to have written at all and all that. If you don't try you don't know what you're capable of but quality must win over quantity. It's true that you have more chance of being published the more you send out, but if you are sending out rubbish there is no point!

I always get a bit panicky and think if I don't send this and that idea off or post this short story or that article off within the hour then someone else will do it, and I'll lose the sale. This may well happen, but there are plenty of other ideas out there and if I don't get a sale for this article I might for the next. So it's off to spend some quality time with my family then back to the drawing board to take some time to look at the quality of my articles and writing in general before I send anything else out. What is it they say about haste and speed?

Julie xx


  1. Julie, one subscriber to Link commented that she'd seen my name in every magazine she'd happened to pick up once, so she wrote a letter into Link wondering who does the housework whilst I'm busy doing all of this writing. I simply sent a letter in reply saying that no-one did the housework - dust is useful to jot down your ideas in when you don;t have any paper around!

    Writing is important, but don't let it get in the way of the important things in life. (Dusting isn't important by the way.)

  2. What is this 'dusting' of which you speak?!! I do like hoovering, though. Life's too short to get bogged down with obsessions and frustrations, I feel. So it's off to the Severn Valley Railway on Friday for me and my daughter and my best friend and her family! Is the railway ready for us I ask.