My dad made a point to me this morning: if you don’t practice a skill every day, or at least regularly, that skill begins to atrophy. That works with almost everything. Last year, I did P.E. only on Wednesdays. And I was terrible at jumprope. I hoped that if I did it every Wednesday for the whole school year, maybe, I could get a little bit better.
Did I? No. It was every Wednesday and not every day. I’m still absolutely terrible at jumprope. In fact, since I haven’t touched a rope in over a year, I’m probably even worse at it than before.
How is this relevant? Well, the same goes for writing. What have I not been doing with my writing? Doing it every day. And what have I been finding when I actually do write? It’s hard, it’s slow and mostly unproductive, and it doesn’t turn out very well.
Hmm. I wonder if I see the issue here…
It’s actually rather frustrating. I don’t want to have to sit down and re-learn all of this stuff, but I have to. It’s kind of like my flute. I haven’t seriously touched the instrument in five years, so when I sit down to try to play, my fingers remember which keys to push down, due to muscle memory, but I don’t really remember how to blow into the instrument properly. So, I have to start over as a beginner. Granted, I’ll admit, part of the problem with my flute is that it badly needs to be tuned, but that’s irrelevant.
I’m sure you can imagine the frustration I’m having. I’ve been writing for nearly three and a half years, and yet, I feel like a total newbie all over again. Except, I’m lacking the confidence I had back when I’d first started. Then, I was amazed any time any words came out on the page. When my first novel reached a word-count of 20k, I was absolutely ecstatic.
The other day, I went and reread my ’12 NaNo novel, just on a whim. I was sure it was absolutely terrible, but it really…wasn’t. Sure, there’s still my key signature of a lack-of-description, and some (most) of the dialogue is awkward, along with other random problems, but I’m actually rather impressed with the writing style itself. It’s not terrific or anything—not even close—but it’s actually better than what I’m writing right now.
I wonder why.
I guess the point of this post is to say that I—and any of you reading this, ahem, looking at you, Kiwi—should try to write every day. So, I’m going to give myself a goal. Write five hundred words every day. Just five hundred, no less. I’m also going to try once again to limit myself to one project. Not that I can’t write on any other project—I’d drive myself to insanity if I did that—but I have to write at least five hundred on one project, and then I can go write whatever I like wherever I like.
In order to really do this, though, I’m going to need someone to help me hold myself accountable. Anyone willing?