Blog · writing

Leave it On The Page

#PitchWars just finished for many of my comrades in arms and many of us are querying (as in watching their inboxes and going slowly crazy.) How do I know? I am one of those writers, so I definitely get it.

One of the themes I kept seeing on the #PitchWars feed was Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo, which is an admirable thing! NaNoWriMo, with it’s 50,000 word goal in a one month span, is a badge of honor, but unlike Christmas, you can open your present now. If you have an idea, WRITE. There will always be NaNo, but ideas don’t wait. I’m all for outlining and researching, but sometimes it’s better just to sit down and write. It doesn’t even need to be a lot, but if you have an idea, get it down now instead of hoping it will be fresh in a few months.

I didn’t trust myself enough a few years ago. I always held back a few ideas, images, phrases for a “rainy day” or really, a drought of words. Then I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and her advice was that you have to leave everything on the page. Don’t keep something behind for later, because you can produce more. Trust yourself. For those of you who’ve lactated, the idea is similar. It can feel so terrifying to drain yourself, knowing that the child will get hungry again soon and then what? Your story will need more words, and then what? But the only way your body knows to produce more words, or milk, is to fully use what you have. Leave it on the page.

And do it today. Don’t wait. Everyone has a novel in their brain they’ve been turning over for thirty years. Whenever I tell anyone I’m a writer, they always tell me about it. The only thing that helps make me and my writing friends on Twitter different is the page. For you, #pitchwars friends, you’ve had at least one novel down and you’re probably tired. Take a break, but when you feel the call to come back, don’t wait for November. Don’t wait for the badge. Jump on and put those words down, milk your imagination dry, because it won’t go dry (at least not for long) if you help it remember what it wants to do.

I bring this up now because I’m drafting a new work in progress and I plan to finish the first draft by election day. I want you to join me, even if not finishing a draft, then working toward something. In this terrible, divisive election season, creating something feels like the best thing I can be doing now (besides registering to vote). I write this plan down to keep myself accountable, and also to invite you to join in. I’ll be tracking my progress on pacemaker and on the #AugWritingChallenge, #SeptWritingChallenge, etc hashtags, so I hope you’ll do the same.

Plus, working on a new project makes querying much less stressful.

What are you working on now?

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