No, the most important thing is developing the habit of persistence. And here in the homestretch is where it comes most fully into play.
More important than talent. More essential than a genius idea. More crucial than the classiest style. The secret to writing success is persistence. Keep trying. You’ve come into the homestretch for NaNoWriMo. Last-minute brain glitch, and can’t think what to write? Write anyway.
Create and sustain those habits. Eventually, you’ll succeed. Going into the homestretch and beyond, you’ll have developed the most essential requirement for any successful writer. Simply don’t let anything stop you.
My son Tyrell Gephardt sent this graphic to me several months ago. I parked it on my desktop as a reminder. It helps me think of it, and also makes a handy cheat-sheet if I forget one. I try to stretch regularly. Why don’t you try these stretches right now?
Didn’t that feel good? Each time I do these I think, “I’ve got to remember these more often!” Then I get busy and don’t think about it till I glance down at my desktop and spot this graphic again.
Stretch your lower back
To be ergonomically sound, there are other stretches you also may want to try. Here’s a post that offers 12 stretches to ease or prevent lower back stress. The illustrations are clear, and the stretches are simple but effective. You can do them in your office, although be advised: some involve getting on the floor.
Now that you’re all stretched out and limbered up, it’s time to get back to work! Best of luck to all who take the NaNoWriMo challenge!And for anyone who spends time at a desk, I hope that you, too, will take time to stretch!
This post is for everyone who hasn’t yet dropped out of NaNoWriMo. And really for everyone who’s pursuing a long, hard effort they believe in. Whatever your struggle, you’re playing a long game. Persistence is the key.
If you’re still hanging in there for NaNoWriMo, you’re entering Week Three, today. By now you’re probably tired. You may have missed a few days, or fallen short of a few benchmarks you’d set for yourself.
You may have begun to wonder if this is really worth it. Take heart. It is. In any long game, persistence is the key.
Doubts are natural. But doubt is poison.
All writers have doubts. And if you’re trying to pile up thousands and thousands of words in a very short period of time time, you’re probably having double and triple doubts.
You know what you’re writing isn’t polished. Hope what you’re writing is good. Fear what you’re writing is garbage.
It doesn’t matter. Not at this point. You’re playing a long game, so the key thing you need is persistence.
The road to quality starts here.
Save the heartburn over polish for rewrites. What you’re doing right now is simply getting it down in an editable format. It’s the essential first step to a finished draft you can be proud of.
Even if much of what you write this month has to be trashed or overhauled, it’s a start. It’s more than you had written before. It’s always easier to rewrite than to write it the first time through.
You’re doing hard work, essential work. And you’re honoring the long game, where persistence is key. So hang in there.
The long game
If NaNoWriMois like story structure, then you’re entering the crucial third quarter. The second half of Act Two, if that’s how you prefer to think of it. You’re closing in on the rising action–which means you might be facing a Dark Night of the Soul.
Keep writing, anyway. At the chosen time each day, park yourself in the chair at your desk, in the coffehouse booth, poised over your pad, or wherever you write. Make words happen. Keep writing.
You’re playing a long game. Persistence is the key.
In this month of NaNoWriMo, a lot of writers will be parking themselves in chairs, curling up in nooks, stretching out on carpets, or clearing off their desks to participate. We know that some writers can write anywhere, but others are a lot more particular about their surroundings. Is there really such a thing as an ideal writing place?
It isn’t hard to find ideas online. Do you prefer a rustic look? Chrome and glass? Are you a minimalist? A connoisseur of clutter? Do you like wooden seating? Upholstered padding? Chintz? Leather? Plaid? Several other bloggers have addressed this topic. Here’s a sampler from their ideas.
The blogger for “Papersmashed” lamented in a 2015 post that her only real writing space was on her bed. Oh, my, can I relate to that! I, too, do most of my writing currently while sitting on my bed with my back supported by a pile of pillows against my headboard.
It’s far from an ideal writing space, for many reasons (just ask my creaky bones). Thank goodness, in my case it’s temporary. But the changes I’m planning for our home’s library require thought. What’s the best way to carve out space to write, run a small press, and also make art–while still maintaining the library’s original function?
For Yelena it seemed to be all about the view: forested mountains, ocean-views, even a panoramic city-scape, though that wouldn’t be her first choice. The room itself could be small, she said. “Small spaces can be open and light. It’s all about the design and the feel.”
Relyea illustrated his interviewees’ comments with two photos that provide a study in contrasts. One is a nicely designed, rather conventional setup that looks comfortable and functional, while the other reminds me of a monk’s cell (or perhaps a dungeon?). Turns out (although there’s no caption to tell you), they are the offices of two of his interviewees, those of Ann Friedman and Noah Davis. Read their interviews, and see if you can guess which office belongs to which.
So, then, what makes an ideal writing space?
There are some interesting ideas in those interviews and photos. But the most striking thing to me is the way basic ideas can be made to seem quite different. When we come right down to it, the primary and most salient thing about any “ideal writing space” is how it makes you feel.
What’s your idea of an ideal writing space? Do you already work in one, do you dream of having it someday, or is it a whimsical fantasy that actually couldn’t exist in the mundane world where we live? Please share thoughts, ideas, photos, or critiques in the comments section below.
The photo of the Artdog’s current writing place (her less-than-ideal bedroom) is by Jan S. Gephardt, all rights reserved.
This blogger posted the trio of images collected into the montage at the end of her section.”The greenhouse” she-shed originated in 2013 on a website from York, Ontario that no longer exists. “Papersmashed” apparently found it somewhere on Heather Bullard’s website. The rustic interior writing space at the center appears to have originated on a profile of a rustic Boston-area home office featured on Houzz. The the photo of the pink-windowed garden shed was attributed to “Via Wooden House,” (guess how successfully I Googled that) but TinEye Reverse Image Search helped me track it down. It’s 2010 the creation of quilter and gardener Laurie Ceesay.