Dear Writer

Planning Does NOT Equal Action

From my teaching years, I learned to plan. I can plan with the best of them. You know, plan your day, plan the party, plan your errands so you spend less time running around and in traffic.

 

Planning a unit for my English/language arts courses required reading the novel for the unit, research, breaking down the unit into sections, developing lectures and assignments. Unfortunately, there were times I over-planned; on the flip side, I under-planned.

 

As a writer, I make great plans to go to my writing studio to write. I have a list of projects that beg I spend time on them.

 

Some writers say they rise early every day and go to their writing place and write. It sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

 

BUT

 

  • If you have young children who need your attention just as you sit down to put your ideas onto the page, you can get derailed.
  • If you have school age children, special needs children, or you are home schooling your child/children, it can be difficult to carve out that early morning spot where you can write. Yup, 3:00 a.m. never found me wanting to write as a parent; I wanted to sleep.
  • Even when your children are grown and on their own and your spouse is busy with interests of his own, it can be difficult sitting in front of that blank page or screen.
  • Early morning appointments, sleepless nights, and even needy pets can fill that morning hour.

 

As a parent and teacher who couldn’t NOT write, I found myself bringing a notebook or a folded piece of paper to appointments and sports practices. I found myself at faculty meetings with a folded piece of paper. I scribbled notes and ideas to myself in the hallway during passing time. I wrote while my students took tests.

 

You see, you can PLAN to write, but when that planned time doesn’t happen, you need an alternate way to get those words down on paper.

 

You need to sit down and put those words and ideas on paper. It is only then that you have something to work with, revise, and edit.

 

Here’s my challenge to you.

 

Start with 5 minutes. Just five minutes to go to a place where you can write. (I’d say a quiet place, but if you have children and/or live in a small space, that probably isn’t an option.) You CAN write for 5 minutes each day this week. Then, next week, add 5 more minutes so you are writing for a total of 10 minutes each day.

 

Share with me where you carved out the 5 minutes this week in the comments below and let me know how successful you are.

 

Hi, I’m Becky. (Ok, Rebecca, but I am rarely addressed that way.) I am a writer and a musician with a tendency to enjoy a variety of crafting opportunities, but I retired from teaching in 2014. I taught in the high school English department: various levels of English, creative writing, public speaking, and theater (acting, directing, and technical theater). As a teacher, I held the philosophy that I wouldn’t give any writing assignment that I personally wouldn’t or couldn’t do. That philosophy strengthened and broadened my own writing.

 

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