Jan 9, 2013

Are you failing your writing?

I'm blogging over at my group blog today, talking about character development and pinterest.  Would love for you stop by!

It's the end of the quarter at my high school on Friday, so I have spent the last two days with people begging asking if there is a way to up their grade.  This tends to do two things to me four times a year.  One, my Diet Coke and ibuprofen consumption go up because it is exhausting to hear the excuses, frustrating to see really smart kids fail and to explain over and over that I-know-other-teachers-will-but-I-won't-no-I-don't-give-extra-credit.

I really love Bill Cosby.
But it has got me thinking about writing.  We are all busy.  Trust me, I get it.  But what lies are we telling ourselves during the time when we should be doing our "homework" but really would rather ___________.  Are we failing ourselves in our dedication to writing?  I know we are all still in the joyous outskirts of the new year starting over, but how are we really doing?  Because this is something we chose to do, something we selected after looking over our lives and realizing we wanted something more.  This isn't some meaningless repetition of some skill someone is telling us we should know but that we will never use (sine, cosine and tangent anyone?).

Many of us have kids, many of whom we put ourselves on a repeat track of saying "Do your homework" and "Read for 20 minutes".  If this is an essential skill for an elementary aged kid, just think of how much more applicable it is to us - both parts.

Life happens sometimes - yes, but not so often that we should fall below a passing level (60% at my school) of effort in our writing, and really, we can probably do better than that.

Are you still going strong with your resolutions?  If you were to look at your writing for the last few weeks, would you still be passing?  How do you keep yourself on track?

18 comments :

ilima said...

Ouch. This post hits home, I am sooo guilty of this. I too easily find other things to fill my "I should be writing time" and feed the procrastination devil within. Thanks for the wake-up call. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love your analogy. I think my motivation is my age. I'm old enough to realize my time is limited, and I have to focus on what I want.

David P. King said...

Great post, Tasha. I'd have to give myself a B- for the time being, not bad, but can do better. :)

Julie Luek said...

I'm trying to make writing a priority this year and life keeps interrupting (an out-of-state wedding, moving my mother into an assisted living situation in another state...). I try to breathe deep and remember to keep my goals firmly in focus but remember life almost never cooperates full with my intentions. Write, yes. But live and nurture relationships- absolutely.

Elizabeth Seckman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Seckman said...

The internet is my biggest writing distraction. Tough finding the right balance.

And a side note...give the kids the extra credit...come on. They're willing to do extra work. Isn't that teaching them that hard work and going beyond the call of duty pays off? (If this worked, tell your students they can thank me by buying my book...or some chocolate...both would please me.)

January 9, 2013 9:20 AM

Jessie Humphries said...

Last night I debated whether to revise for an hour before bed or watch TV for an hour before bed. Guess what I chose? Yep, bed. Dang it, now I feel bad! Does it help that I revised for at least 6 hours yesterday and my brain was fried?

S.P. Bowers said...

Love the post. Some days are better than others. I'm getting back to work. I hate failing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't write with that kind of dedication, but I do practice my guitar every single night.

Nicole said...

Oh, this is a toughie. I "do my homework" pretty consistently, but I always wish I had time to do more (uh oh, I'm turning into Hermione). I think it's all about finding balance.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Great quote from Bill Cosby. I try to keep that in mind as I write. Overall, I give myself a B+ for writing and blogging.

Nick Wilford said...

Those are tough questions. I always think I could be doing more. Like, it often takes about 15 minutes after I sit down at my WIP before I feel up to writing anything. Important not to beat yourself up, though. That could be counterproductive. I think I do OK, but I strive to be a faster writer.

Andrew Leon said...

I don't think I do anything other than write anymore. Seriously, I think it's been something like 2 years since I've even thought about playing a game.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've always been a 'no extra credit' kind of teacher too. I have written down my 2013 goals yet. I've been so durn busy with the deadlines I have for two books I can't seem to look beyond them.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I go in spurts with my novel writing, but otherwise it always feels like I am writing something.

Livia Peterson said...

It's definitely hard to find balance. Life gets in the way and that interrupts things.

The internet is quite distracting for me so I feel like I get nothing done. I really should be writing instead of reading a million blogs.

Great post, Tasha! :)

Misha Gericke said...

So far I'm not doing too badly. My main priority is to start querying again next week (with synopsis). Looks like I'm on track with that. :-)

Lexa Cain said...

School is state mandated. Work is a necessary evil if you want to eat. But writing is a hobby (unless you have a publishing contract), so if you have to force yourself to do it, it takes all the fun out of it. Life is too short to chain yourself to a chair and make yourself write about life instead of experiencing it. Just my two cents. ;-)