If Habits Fail
When I began writing fiction a few years ago, I faced a problem—well, more than one, but we’ll just talk about one today. Finding—and losing–the writing habit. I know for many of you, that’s not an issue. But perhaps some may share my initial handicap. What do you do when habits fail?
I thought I couldn’t write unless I ‘felt’ like it. In other words, when inspiration struck. Mind you, this came as a surprise to me, because I’d spent years as a daily newspaper journalist and editor, working with deadlines, after which I taught journalism, emphasizing among other things, meeting deadlines!
So it rather took me aback
when I couldn’t seem to bridge the writing of non-fiction, which involved working from facts and notes and deadlines, to the more subjective process of fiction, where I created my own facts and reality in my own time. I thought I needed to be ‘in the mood’ to tell the story.
Unfortunately, all too often my muse packed up her inspiration and went on vacation. Which led to my not committing any writing for days. Until I found a wonderful group of other writers who followed a simple 100-words-a-day rule.
That meant I had to write 100 words a day
No matter how I felt, no matter how bad I thought the words were. And we reported our writing totals to the group each evening. I committed to the process, and lo and behold, it worked! Writing each day became a habit. And it stayed with me through three books.
Trouble is, that habit slowly fell by the wayside. This year, personal and family issues seemed to demand more and more time until I found myself going days without writing at all. And it happened before I realized it.
Recently, though, I’ve managed to re-establish the routine.
No matter what, I write a minimum number of words a day. But the good thing is, once I get started, the total always exceeds the goal I’ve set myself. Editing and revision count, by the way. My wonderful weekly critique group helps keep us all on track, too.
I’m thrilled I’ve regained the writing habit. Now if I could just work on the munching-while-I-compose habit….
Write. Every. Day. Even if you don’t want to. Find a critique group or crit partner(s). They help motivate you and keep you on track. Stop waiting for the mood to hit you—you’ll become too adept at ducking!
Award winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. She now lives in Missouri, where she recently retired as an English and journalism professor and plans to spend more time creating heroes to live for.
THE LADY OF THE FOREST
He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate’s past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.