Dawn Montgomery


In #amwriting, Challenges, Goals, Write Talk on July 17, 2013 at 2:11 am


It’s 2am (or 7am or 5pm) and the clock is ticking. You know hope you have a good hour before you’re interrupted. You sit down to write, fingers at the keyboard, and the screen stares back at you. Blinking cursor mocking you. The last sentence you wrote glaring, daring you to add to it.

This hard-won time is counting down with or without your consent while your fingers itch to play candy crush. It’s not like the scene’s going well anyway…

“No. I’m a writer,” you say. “I write.” So let’s get on with it. Right? You type out a sentence. One word. A paragraph.

You’re suddenly struck by the realization that your favorite show is available for streaming RIGHT NOW.

No. You have to write. It’s the job you want. You love to tell stories with words. The voice in the back of your head mocks that statement, but you don’t care. You set up a timer to make you focus. This will work.

Another paragraph. Another page. It’s probably the worst thing you’ve ever written, your mind says. So what? It’s done. You can’t edit a blank page, after all. Right? You squash the inner whispers for a minute and keep pressing forward.

Your time is up before you know it. An interruption happens, a timer goes off, your lunch break ends and it’s time to get back to the daily grind, etc. For whatever reason, you have to put aside your writing and move on to other life things until the next time you sit down to write.

It takes courage to do what we do. For most of us, the fight is as much inside our heads as it is from the outside. The voice telling us we’re going to fail may be based on someone you know (an ex-husband who told you writing was a stupid waste of time, perhaps? Hmm. Maybe that’s just me.). The fact remains we do it. Every day. Every time we sit down we try to still our minds and translate our ideas to paper. Some days the words flow like a waterfall, raging and fantastic. You can’t stop it no matter what you do. Other days its like wrangling an octopus into a mason jar.

Take heart. Most of your days won’t be filled with dreck. The more you write, the more the words will flow. You’ll begin to accept the bad writing days as par for the course and not let it cripple you because there will be other, greater, more amazing writing days. The moment when things come together and your characters start to make sense. A spark where you realize the problem with your scene was the POV it was written in. When you changed it (in desperation because nothing else was working) to the other character, it flowed like it was always meant to be that way. The day you spent in panic because the words wouldn’t come will lead into the day where your fingers aren’t moving as fast as your brain. πŸ˜€

Don’t give up. Later in life you won’t remember *exactly* why you quit, only that you did so. Trust me.

Being courageous isn’t about being fearless. It’s about doing what needs to be done in spite of the fear.

Let me say that again.

Courage is about being afraid to fail and doing it anyway.

So write. Don’t stop. Polish up your work and submit it to a publisher. Write some more. If/when you get rejected (I was rejected several times by my dream publisher before they took me on) learn what you can and keep trying. We’re two weeks into this quarter’s Round of Words challenge, but we’re halfway through Camp NaNoWriMo. Many are panicked, stressed, worried, upset, and disappointed. Take heart. If you don’t succeed in winning your CampNaNoWriMo challenge, the book is still going strong. Keep writing and don’t stop. Maybe it takes you until November to finish. So what if it takes a few months (year, five years) longer than you’d planned…the time was still there for you to do it.

It’s now time for my A Round of Words in 80 Days update:

#ROW80 update

ROW80LogocopyThree projects this week:

  1. Spirit Lake: I haven’t worked on this one so far this week. I finished Private Cowboy, so I’m so much happier. Voodoo Carnival is my focus since it’s due for submission by the 21st.
  2. Voodoo Carnival: Thanks to this amazing (Did I mention AMAZING) post on how to index cards your scenes, Voodoo Carnival is well on its way to being done without my random veering off into nowherelandia I’m famous for in my first draft.
  3. Private Cowboy: Done and submitted. I received a notice from the editor of the anthology that Private Cowboy was received. The results won’t release until December, but it’s off my list. πŸ˜€
  4. My original goals post has been updated with my success. The first item has been been checked off my list. Too awesome!

If you’re interested in joining us on the Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge (your own goals for the quarter!), check it out HERE.

I’m part of a fantastic group, and if you’d like to see how everyone else is doing, check out the list HERE.

Keep Writing!

  1. I’ve had those days! LOL It’s nice to know we’re not alone in the journey. πŸ™‚ I have to say after reading this I don’t feel so awful when I spend two days staring at the blinking cursor (finally giving in and cleaning the house instead, lol) and on day number three all of a sudden it’s all…just…there. Thank you Dawn. πŸ™‚

  2. It is very solitary. Although fulfilling in its own way. It helps a lot when you have other writers who are dealing with the same thing, at times. I think it makes us feel less alone and more together. I mean, how many other people know/understand what you’re talking about when you’re pulling your hair out over a couple of characters who aren’t getting their act together when you want them to? I usually get the glazed eye look and vague head nod (even from family and friends, lol) when I’m fit to be tied and ready to throw the computer out the window. Or someone actually thought I was talking about a ‘real’ person then asked if I was on medication. LOL Sometimes, even I wonder myself if I’m losing it. πŸ˜‰

    • Oh man do I know where you’re coming from. You’re definitely not crazy…or if you are…you’re MY kind of crazy. πŸ˜€ I get it. Our characters are born and raised in our minds. We’re like new parents (or grandparents) with pictures, showing and explaining in every way how our babies are so perfect (or perfectly imperfect). Even when we’re frustrated with them…there’s still love there.

  3. Yes, that’s exactly how they are. Children, our children. We love them unconditionally. Even when they aren’t being nice to us. πŸ˜‰ I find it easier to talk with other writers. Like you said, ‘MY kind of crazy’…that’s it too. πŸ˜€

  4. You go, Writer! And kudos for using the word “dreck”! I stuck it in my back-pocket and will pull it out when I need just the perfect word.
    Nice to meet you and see you along the way…
    ~Just Jill
    (Not the bible-study site the last Linky from Sunday was sending people to… Gahhh!)

  5. I needed to hear this today. Of course, I need to hear this everyday, but today especially. You summed it up so well, too. You should be a writer, or something. =]

  6. I loved this, Dawn πŸ™‚ Words so true. Makes us realise that we are not alone in both our love and our struggle with writing. Thank you! xx

    • Cyn Thia *hugs you tight* I’m glad you loved it! I was nervous it would read too depressing or I’d get a lot of “I don’t think that way”. I’m so glad it resonated with you.

  7. Nice work on your goals and thanks for the encouragement!

  8. I’m so glad that I found my way back to #Row80. It’s so nice to have a group of people who know exactly what it’s like. I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive husband but even so, sometimes kindness can hurt too. Some things said with good intentions can cut very deep and stay with you for a long time.

    • It’s so true. Even kindness can hurt. We spend so much time in our heads it’s hard to keep perspective. My current husband is amazingly supportive. We had some rough patches, but we figured out a way that worked for my poor ego. LOL.

  9. This is a fantastic post! I think we all need this reminder every now and then. I sure do!

  10. Once I was told that my writing showed a “failure of imagination.” Every time I doubt myself, those words replay. Only by being successful in meeting my goals can I prove at least to myself that my imagination is doing just fine, thank you. Your essay here was just what I needed to read — and from what other writers say — your words are what we ALL need. Thank you. May your writing (amazing progress) continue to go well.

    • I wonder if it’s in our nature to remember the words of discouragement and amplify them while those who encourage and provide support fade the background. I am so glad this helped. Thank you for stopping by, Beth.

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