by Kristine Coblitz
I struggled to come up with a witty and informative topic for today’s post, but I kept coming up empty. The holidays are over, and it’s back to the daily drudge of being a working stiff. My life isn’t very interesting right now, which is probably why finding a compelling topic for this blog turned into a somewhat impossible task.
January is always a busy month in the magazine business. Due to the fact that no one seems to work during the month of December anymore, I’m forced to play catch up in getting my articles secured and press releases filed for the February issue, which is due to the printer in a week. I have to track down previous unanswered calls to sources for the March issue and expect these people to turn out 1,500-word articles for me in two weeks.
The tricky part is shutting off this part of the brain when it comes to my fiction writing projects. Over the holidays, I announced that I’d finish the second draft of my novel by the end of January. I’m realizing now that it may have been a bit optimistic.
I just finished reading a great book about writing called “Writing From The Inside Out” by Dennis Palumbo. In it, he talks a lot about overcoming the emotional roadblocks to writing such as fear, procrastination, and impatience. According to Dennis, writers are encouraged to take the “long view”—which means “being both energized and relaxed; enthusiastic and patient.” It means “just doing your work, day in and day out, forging your process out of the raw materials of your experience. Keeping your focus in the tension between building craft in the now and holding hope for the future.”
If you want to check out Dennis Palumbo’s website, click HERE. (FYI: According to the book, he's originally from Pittsburgh.)
So I’ve decided to be a bit easier on myself. I’m going to focus on my daily writing, working on developing my craft instead of stressing myself out over meeting a self-imposed and unrealistic deadline. I’ll leave the stress-induced deadlines for my day job working for the magazine.
As a parting thought, I leave you with another quote from the book, which is “Writers are better served by exploring more fully where they are now—and that requires patience.”
So I accept that I have a long way to go on my second draft, but if anyone has any tricks for being patient, I'd love to hear them.