The Page a Day Writers Group

Posts Tagged ‘procrastination writing butt in chair

Everyday I wake up thinking how I can best slice my 24-hour pie. A myriad of tasks stream through my mind including how to deepen my main character, amp up the tension of a scene, why there so many calories in lemon olive oil. I jump out of bed convinced that all the “to-dos” in my head will magically become “to-dones” by the end of the day. A fantasy rarely achieved.

But as John Lennon sang: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

The car won’t start. The dog is hacking. An article deadline looms and a key resource hasn’t returned my email. Spin life’s wheel and each day you can substitute “life happenings” pre-empting coveted writing time. Surprisingly, I’m not alone in my struggle.

I read Katrina Kittle’s post Keep the Faucet On: Slow and Steady Fills the Ocean. After commiserating with every writer’s plight, Kittle offers simple, real-world suggestions to those scheduling conflicts/time management issues.

I’m starting by letting go of my belief that a writing schedule must look the same every day. What a relief. Her words of encouragement got me back to the keyboard.

Maybe, with a little pre-planning and realistic expectation, time really is on your side.

–Claire Yezbak Fadden

Never mistake activity for achievement. —John Wooden

It’s true. I used to confuse motion with action. As long as I was busy in the motion of writing a novel (taking classes, attending workshops, reading how-to books), I thought I was getting closer to my goal. The reality is, while I was in the motion of writing, I wasn’t truly engaged in the action of writing a novel. The possibility of producing an actual book was slim. I liken it to constantly going to the grocery store buying the ingredients for a delicious cake, but never actually baking it.

I was happy — highlighter in hand — with my nose in the latest or time-tested how to write books. I garnered every tip, idea, theory and tidbit imaginable. And I read every writer’s blog. Actually that last one may have been what saved me.  Thanks to a post from James Clear, I learned the folly of my ways.

Don’t get me wrong. It is important to learn about writing. The knowledge I’ve gained through my critique partners is invaluable. But after gathering ideas from other writers, wannabe writers, editors and agents, there comes a time to put all that learning to the test – or in my case – to the page.

I talked a lot about how hard it is to write fiction. Anyone who would listen, heard my lament. It is a much tougher task than writing a magazine article, where the challenge is to uncover the facts and put them into a readable prose.

One my critique partners, Sharon C. Cooper, called me out on my penchant for hovering around the idea of writing a novel . “You’ve taken more classes than any other writer I know,” she lovingly said. “Girl, you need to start writing.” Those words hit home. I got the message. I needed to stop preparing to write and start spending my  time getting words on the page.

Bum glue, butt-in-the-chair, chained-to-the-computer. It all amounts to the same thing. A writer writes. So get writing.

–Claire Yezbak Fadden

By the time the last of the sugar cookies are eaten and all the gift have been unwrapped, we barely have a chance to jot down a resolution or two and reflect on how quickly 2013 has passed. Another year is coming to an end and it’s time to usher in a new one.

Right after you share that midnight kiss for good luck, get started on some of these ideas for from Keith Cronin for a happy, successful 2014.

Five More New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

–Claire Yezbak Fadden

May 8 – What made you laugh

Many writers and want-to-be writers struggle to pursue their writing goals. Judy Reeves knows each one of us. Perhaps not by name, but by our writer’s soul.

I was lucky enough to meet Judy during a session at the Southern California Writers Conference. In a workshop called “20 Ways to Make It Better,” she strung together dozens of hands-on tips on how to take your writing deeper, employ all the senses and embrace language. It didn’t take long to realize that she spoke from experience, from her heart. Judy knew.

I’m working my way through her book, “A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life.” So far, I’ve been encouraged, challenged and understood. I’m not alone.

Today I’m pondering all the things that make me laugh–everything from my husband’s quirky smile to reruns of “I Love Lucy” have made the list. The writing prompts are the book’s backbone, but every page holds other treasures in the form of advice, inspiration and some literary tidbits.

Musicians practice. Athletes practice. Writers should too. The daily writing prompts make practicing seamless. Writing from a prompt, Judy says, is like having someone provide the music when you want to dance.

A Writer’s Book of Days is $16.95 — less on sites like Amazon.

–Claire Yezbak Fadden

I needed to put in a good four or five hours on my rewrites today. I’d put in at least twice that amount of time rewriting them in my head. So instead, I puttered around for as long as I could. I did pretty much everything else I could do around the house — including packing up all the Easter decorations.

With nothing else to delay the inevitable, I sat in my chair and gently warmed up to the idea of beginning my day’s writing.

With nothing else to delay the inevitable, I sat in my chair and gently warmed up to the idea of beginning my day’s writing. I reshuffled my critique comments, straightened piles of papers and re-checked e-mails. That’s when I stumbled upon a shout out from storyfix.com (Larry Brooks) for Jennifer Blanchard’s site — procrastinatingwritersblog.com. Kismet! A blog written with me in mind.

The fact this site exists at all validates that all writers procrastinate. The blog is jam-packed with resources, support, advice and motivation for all of us dawdling writers. And as I read the latest posts, I discovered Jennifer is about to launch “Butt-In-Chair: A no-excuses writing productivity guide.” I can’t wait.

In the meantime, since it’s too early to put out the Fourth of July decorations, I’d better get back to writing.

–Claire Yezbak Fadden


Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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