Real Life Versus Writing Life by Joan Reeves #AoMS

Blog_Beautiful-woman-with-thoughtfu-29888243_BSPI’m late publishing this post today because I came up empty in the find an entertaining subject category. I just can’t think of anything except how down in the dumps I feel. You see I’m tired and real life is hell-bent on interfering with my writing life.

Do you ever feel that when you set goals, the universe throws all the storms of life at you to keep you from achieving them?

That’s how I feel. I had all these ambitious plans for finishing out my various series this year plus writing some special Christmas projects.

Real Life laughed and said, “Think again.”

Even though my time is being used for a good cause, and my time away from writing won’t be forever, it’s still a let-down to watch the days slip away with nothing done.

All week I’ve been frustrated by not following through on my goals–even though it’s not my fault. Rather than bemoan my lack of sleep and lack of time, I decided to remind myself of something I wrote in an email to a couple of friends who were aspiring authors whose energy was flagging on the long journey to publication.

This is good advice regardless of what you’re trying to achieve.

Image of businessman rolling a giant stone

Feel as if you’re pushing a boulder uphill?

Good Advice If Trying to Achieve Something Amazing

Nothing great was ever created quickly. To develop a great scientific discovery, to paint a masterpiece, to write a book, to become a minister or a college graduate–to do anything great or different requires time, patience, and perseverance.

Goals are achieved by degrees, little by little.

Michelangelo did not paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling in a day. Mozart did not compose his most famous work in a day, Milton did not write Paradise Lost at one sitting, nor did Shakespeare create Hamlet in a day.

Just as the most famous musicians begin with basic musical notes and artists first draw with Crayons, the greatest writer who ever lived began with the alphabet. With words. You too must start there.

Whatever your chosen goal, begin with baby steps that will lead you to giant steps.

To do anything great requires time, patience, and perseverance. Accept this and get started.

That’s my good advice for all of you, and for myself today.

AFB_2400px3200p_NYT99cents Sale

In my romantic comedy APRIL FOOL BRIDE, on sale for only 99cents, Maddie has a goal and is determined to achieve it.

Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband by the time she turns twenty-five in order to claim her full inheritance. Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, has learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

Maddie decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer. She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were kids growing up together.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Or is it something else? Something hot and smouldering that will not be denied?

FB_Fall in Love_04_1832px2200pPost Script

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Triple delighted if you sign up for WordPlay, my email list/newsletter for readers so I can give you a free book.

Waiting For Inspiration & Time

Joan Reeves

Books by Joan Reeves

Have you ever had an idea for something you’d like to create? It could be a quilt, a decorating project, a rose garden, or writing a book. A lot of people stockpile these projects for the summer since more daylight hours equals more leisure time, or so the theory goes.

Here in Texas, it’s definitely more comfortable to be inside working on a decorating project than outside in the heat and humidity. Of course, I think if you live in cold country, this might be reversed where you save up your creativity for the months when the weather’s too cold and icy to be outside.

Whatever the project you want to create, and whenever you plan to do it, have you ever noticed how time passes, and you never find the time to get started? The summer’s over, and those cross stitch table napkins you were going to do for your sister’s Christmas present just didn’t get done. Or maybe that goal of reading all of Jane Austen’s books again fell by the wayside. For writers, creative projects usually mean a book written “just for the fun of it” to see if, maybe, you can pull together a book in a different genre.

Why couldn’t you find the time to do what you wanted to do? Maybe you were inspired, but the inspiration cooled, and, suddenly, the project looked more like work than fun.

The Secret To Achievement

Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate of the United States, said: “If you wait for inspiration, inspiration’s going to go away and look for more fertile ground to work with.”

The way many aspiring writers work is the way most people work on anything drawn from the imagination: they wait for the “muse” to commune with them. However, there’s something all these people don’t know that professional writers have learned. Inspiration comes to those who work consistently, every day, on the creative project.

Do It Like Pro Writers

Regardless of what you want to achieve, I encourage you to work like a Professional Writer works. Professional writers don’t wait for inspiration before hitting the keyboard. We know that the part of the brain that spews words is like an old-fashioned water pump. If you don’t know how one of those water pumps work, let me enlighten you.

The pump has a long, cast iron handle. You pump the handle up and down vigorously. After a few seconds of pumping, water spurts out—unless the pump hasn’t been used in a long time. If the pump isn’t used regularly, you may have to pump and pump until your arm muscles scream in protest and you’re out of breath. It takes a long time for that water to spurt out. Sometimes, you even have to prime the pump by pouring water into it in order for it to start pumping water out again.

How Achievement Works

That’s how writing works. When you write every day, it’s easy to get that outpouring of words. But, if you write every now and then, when inspired, it takes a lot longer to get the words flowing. Many professional writers leave nothing to chance. They prime the pump every day by leaving a dangling thread that can easily be picked up the next day. They also may prime the pump by reading over what they wrote the previous day, editing it a bit, and then diving into the current day’s writing.

This holds true for planting a rose garden, stitching a quilt, or faux painting a wall. You can’t just work at it when you’re inspired. To complete anything like this, you have to work at it consistently until it’s finished.

If you stop and start, stop and start, the garden will be overgrown with weeds before the first rose ever blooms. The quilt will be a partially finished project haunting you every time you see it on the shelf in the closet. The wall will be a hideous mess that makes you ashamed if anyone comes to visit.

Frozen

Everyone has heard of writer’s block. I think it happens when writers who don’t write regularly have a difficult time getting the words to flow. Sometimes the flow is less than a drizzle, only a drip or two. If they give up then, it’s even harder the next day. Sometimes if they don’t persist and keep pumping that handle and priming that pump, the flow dries up completely. The longer they go without producing a flow of words, the harder it gets to squeeze a word out. That’s when they’re diagnosed with writer’s block.

You might as well call it creativity block because this same phenomenon afflicts anyone who attempts to create something from their imagination. If they stop working consistently on it, it never gets finished. What’s worse, every time you think of it, you feel guilty and overwhelmed. If you don’t follow through this time then next time it’s even easier to shelve the project.

Post Script

Consistency of effort finishes the painting, plants the garden, writes the book, and establishes the habit of finishing what you start.

(Joan’s Books are available at all major ebook sellers. Please visit JoanReeves.com and her blog SlingWords for more information.)