I got some tough love from my critique group last week. After making suggestions on how to improve my submission, they gave me their strongest comments: No more work on the house, no more trips, no more slacking off. Get back to work – write!
I admit it. I’ve been a slacker. Not that I haven’t been productive in other areas. But over the summer, I’ve gotten into vacation mode. I’ve filled my free time with DIY projects, getting together with family and friends, and just enjoying some down time. I even skipped blogging the last two weeks.
I’ve enjoyed the change in my routine and less frenetic pace, but I didn’t need my critique group to tell me that my “vacation” had extended past its expiration date. The longer I went without writing, the heavier my conscience. I’d assuage it periodically by making revisions to my previous submission and adding a bit of new material. However, in two months, I’d only moved the story forward by a paltry 800 words, about a day’s worth of work.
The more time that elapsed between writing sessions, the more excuses I found not to write (e.g., I simply must delete old messages from my phone). But a funny thing happened when I did sit in front of the screen and pulled up my story. Not only did my guilt ease, but I actually felt good. I found myself thinking about my characters, what they’d do, how they’d respond, little quirks of personality and how they’d play out. I thought of new wrinkles in the plot, how to create mini arcs to keep readers turning the pages. Still, as much as I love to write, writing is work.
And that’s the crux of it. Writing is work. It’s a job. And like any job, you have to show up for work, get it done and do it well. I’m fortunate that as much as I liked my “vacation,” I also like my job. And I’m back to work.