Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Write Every Day!

One of my favorite activities is visiting schools and talking about reading and writing. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Junipero Serra Elementary School in Ventura, California to talk to all the third and fourth grade students. They were so creative, respectful, energized and, to use one of their favorite words, awesome! :)

Often kids will ask me what advice I have for becoming a writer. My biggest advice is simple: Write every single day. Even if only for fifteen or twenty minutes. Make writing a priority; make it part of your daily routine, as essential as eating dinner or brushing your teeth. Writing a whole book may seem like a daunting endeavor, but if you write just one page every day, at the end of a year you'll have 365 pages!

Recently, my own life has gotten incredibly busy. In between applying for graduate school and international fellowships, doing radio and online interviews, working on articles for magazines and websites, and the endless everyday tasks of daily life, my fiction writing time gradually slipped away. I began to feel drained and overwhelmed. At the end of the day, I would look back at all I had accomplished and still feel like something was missing.

Then I realized: I needed to listen to my own advice! I needed to make my fiction writing -- writing that is dearly important to me -- a priority again. I have set a new goal for myself of writing 1,000 words on my new novel manuscript every single day. It's been almost two weeks, and many days I have gotten on a roll and written 2,000 or 3,000 words at a time! For me, an important thing to remember when working on a first draft is not to censor or edit myself too much, but simply to let my creativity flow. Editing comes later. I often write longhand and then transfer my writing to the computer. I find I am more open-minded and free-flowing when I write by hand.

Since I've been recommitted to writing every single day, I have felt more purposeful, happy, and inspired. And my new novel is coming along great!

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