Well, I was going to follow Kristen’s very helpful tips with some of my own, but events have conspired against me (more on this below) and I just don’t have the brain-power to put together anything lucid. Instead, I'll simply hit the highlights:
Be patient. And I mean be patient with your writing. Even though I am DYING to finish this book, the more I panic and rush my writing, the less satisfied I am with the end result. Really, what I’ve learned is that I’ll never be one of those writers who’s able to churn out thousands of words a day *cough, Claire, cough*. And that’s OK. I’ve learned that I write in layers – first, I write a quick skeleton of a scene, then I go back and add the muscle, then the flesh, and lastly, the quirky, interesting bits, like the heart shaped birthmarks. And that takes time. I’ve also learned that sometimes I really do need to back away and take a day or two just to wool gather about my book. So learning to be patient is a big one for me.
Give yourself permission NOT to write. Being a little on the obsessive side, at first I tried to religiously stick to the old “write every day” credo. That nearly drove me nuts, especially when life intervened and I’d have to miss a day, or two, or three and I’d start to panic and beat myself up about it. No more. Weekends are now writing-free zones, and my family, my writing, and I, are much better for it.
Read, read and read some more, and never stop. This is the best way I’ve found to soak up the craft of writing. Plus, reading a brilliant book always inspires me to get cracking with my own. Double win!
Get some sleep! Oh boy, I just CANNOT write well when I’m sleep deprived. Unless I’m on the home stretch of a book, I will never be one of those writers who churns out the words in the wee small hours. Diana Gabaldon, I ain’t! And sleep deprivation is the reason for my abovementioned lack of brain-power and the brevity of this post – I’m suffering from it, badly. I had a couple of very late nights on the weekend – fun, and totally my own fault. Then Monday, our house alarm malfunctioned and went off at 4am, waking the whole house with a nice shot of adrenalin; and yesterday, my five year old daughter malfunctioned and woke up at 3am (waking only me this time. Aren’t I special? :-/) Not fun, and not my fault. Grrr.
So I will leave you with one last thing I know about writing … that I enjoy it much more when I have furry, four-legged, company. I’ve missed this since the last of our cats died in March, but the cavalry is coming in the form of the two new kittens we picked out a couple of weeks ago, who will join our madhouse in July. Here's a picture of the critters (they’re Devon Rex kittens, which accounts for their kinda odd, gremlin-like appearance.) Oh, and that’s another thing I know - baby animal pics always make me smile, even when I feel like crud. J