Muse-calling, Week One

June 12, 2009

I am beginning to train myself to focus on fiction writing (and only fiction writing) for thirty minutes every day. I would like to start at 8:30 AM, but, as you can see, I’m not quite hitting that mark.

Thursday

Log in: 8:35 AM
Log out: 9:25 AM
FWC: 1805

Friday

Log in: 9:04
Log out: 9:35
FWC: 2261

Pass/fail on my goal of 1,500 words per day this week: fail.

Muse-calling is the first goal I have set that is not focused on output. Rather, the point is to force me to designate a certain time slot each day for fiction, and use that slot only for its intended purpose. I have noticed that I am not at all eager to stay in my chair. I want to jump up and grab a snack. I think of something that needs to be done, or I get distracted by a problem, and I want to get up and move around the house. But the conditions I have placed on this experiment require me to sit and think about fiction. Since this is easiest if I’m writing fiction, I tend to write more under these rules.

It’s only half an hour, so my word count is low. I’m going to be okay with that for two more weeks while I cement the habit (and nudge myself into starting at 8:30 on the dot). Maybe my output per minute will increase; maybe it won’t. What will happen is that I will get used to giving that time to fiction, and only fiction.

I got the idea for this approach from Jerry Cleaver’s book Immediate Fiction. Mostly. Plenty of authors and teachers advise writing on a fixed schedule. Most of my favorite bloggers recommend baby steps when tackling a big dream. Cleaver, however, ran The Writer’s Loft in Chicago, and he may be the best writing instructor out there. He has certainly made a persuasive and motivating case for developing good writing habits.

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I have Real, Paying Work as a writing coach for the teenage son of a coworker. He’s writing a novel and it’s my job to read over what he produces and make editorial suggestions. Yes!!

Lunch with the freelance writer went well. More on that later.