What? Am I on the wrong blog? I thought this was a writer’s site.
Wait! Wait, no, it’s really me. Hang in there. Let me explain. I happened across an article on www.dumblittleman.com that lit up the cartoon light bulb over my head. I’d recommend them for great articles and tips for all areas of your life. I’ve been following them for years, back when it was called Life Hack.
The article I read was called “8 Bad Food Habits That are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals.” Not that I needed that particular information, mind you, I was just browsing the site (and if you believe that, there’s a cliché in Brooklyn that I could sell you really cheap.)
What this article did was remind me that there are little bad habits that sabotage writers, too. For example, being personally aware of one bad habit, I was moved to write a poem ala the kids’ book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Here’s part of it:
IF YOU CLEAN A WRITER’S COFFEEPOT by Virginia Nygard
If you clean a writer’s coffeepot…
he’ll want you to make a pot of coffee.
If you make a pot of coffee and hand him a cupful…
he’ll want a cookie, too.
If you mix up cookie batter quick…
he’ll fill up his cup, and wait for warm cookies.
While there, he’ll see the coffee jar’s low…
and grind fragrant beans to fill it up.
He’ll put the coffee jar away…
and notice the cupboard door is loose.
He’ll find his tools, fix the door, and then…
eye the shabby, faded walls.
You know where this is going, right? Straight to serious procrastination bordering on avoidance, yes? And that’s what eats away at your writing time.
Then, there’s the food-inspired question, “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer? Yup, one bite at a time. Or, as a writer, one step at a time. Don’t start picking out the publishing house for which you want to be the next star if you haven’t started with Step One. Examine what makes you want to write. What makes you think writing is a good fit for you? Have you kept a journal? Had a pen pal? Have you read a variety of genres? Do you have a burning desire to share your story? Are you willing to learn? Do you want fame and fortune?
If the last is your driving goal, let me share what my high school guidance counselor said to me, “If you’re looking to make a bundle of money by going into teaching for a career, you’ll be going into the wrong profession.” She was right, but it was what I was called to do. And that warning can apply to writing, too. In my view, what society exalts is not always honorable, moral, or of lasting value. Consider what society exalts if you want big bucks. Just don’t sell your soul to get it.
Follow your desire to write with Step Two. What’s your support system? Have you looked into classes online or at your local community college? Joined a local writers’ group? Found a non-profit writers’ association in your state? There are groups online that offer writing contests or critique. Be aware of membership fees and check their credentials before jumping in.
When I was about three years old, I was eager to learn and do as much as I could, as fast as I could. And that applied to climbing stairs, too. Holding my mother’s hand on the way up to bed, I remember trying to take two-or maybe it was three-steps at a time. From below I heard my father’s voice, “One at a time. One at a time.” So we moved slowly up the stairs with me chanting for each step, “‘One at a time,’ Da-da says…‘One at a time,’ Da-da says…”
So how do we go about making The New York Times Best Sellers list?
Right. Da-da would be proud of you!
Posted by Virginia Nygard in Uncategorized Tags: advice, family, habits, humor, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, opinion, patience, persistence, poetry, procrastination, sabotage, societal values, support system, writers groups, writing
Oh, do I need this seminar! I’m taking phone calls for my husband, expecting company, trying to make the house presentable, deciding on a menu, and…oh, yes…trying to find time to write? Destress Concoction? Give me a double, straight up. No rocks. Life has enough of them.
Many in Florida’s Treasure Coast area know Leona Bodie from the Palm City Word Weavers group, and as a former Florida Writers Association officer. She’s a successful published author and quite willing to share her knowledge. In view of all of the above going on, I hope she’ll forgive me for a less-than-glowing tribute. Google her. You’ll be amazed.
Here’s the information she asked me to share about her upcoming FREE seminar:
I’m sending information about a free, local seminar on writing and de-stressing your blog readers and Treasure Coast Writers Group members may be interested in. For your convenience, I’ve included more details below. Anything you can do to help spread the word will be greatly appreciated. …Please feel free to share this email with your friends and others who may be interested.
When: Saturday, August 8th, 1-4 PM
Where: Peter & Julie Cummings Library – Palm City, Florida
What: Write Yourself Right Out of Stress into a Bestseller
Discover why writing therapy works with author and consultant Leona Bodie. Learn how to develop the understanding, commitment and skills to de-stress and craft a winning novel. Creative therapy is an effective way to write a bestseller and get stress-relief from writing at the same time. We will discuss barriers and facilitators and identify tips for crafting your fiction or non-fiction book. This interactive workshop features handouts and opportunity to ask questions.
Should you have any questions about the seminar, please contact Carolyn Smith – (772) 288-2551 firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you soon!
Thanks everyone…and stay tuned!