It’s been almost a month since I started my Year of Writing by implementing my 2x2x2 Daily Writing Method — 2 hours of working on The Devil Particle, 2 hours of marketing, and two hours of reading every day. So far it’s working.
To be honest, I don’t do this plan every day. I had to cheer on the Packers and the bathrooms and dirty clothes won’t clean themselves, but I do manage to complete the Method five days a week.
What I found, and what I’ve known but for some reason forgot, is that writing each day makes me happy.
I’m calmer, more relaxed, less stressed. Writing is like yoga for my soul.
Once I’m wrapped in my robe and afghan, cozy on my yellow couch with my laptop open, tea or water nearby, I set my timer for two hours and get started.
Some days, after forty minutes in, I want to quit. The words aren’t flowing, the ideas are lame, my characters are stubborn. There are dishes to wash, bills to pay, GamePigeon games to win, all tempting me to stop writing. But I force myself to keep at it the full two hours.
Within minutes of working through the glitch, my writing takes off, and then what seems like seconds later, my timer goes off.
The two hours of marketing a day have been surprisingly less of a struggle. Right now my marketing involves querying agents. I’m shooting for two queries a day which means the two hours allotted to marketing often turn to three.
I also work on my newsletter and homeschooling blog, respond to emails, and submit my books to contests or workshop proposals to conferences. I’m getting a lot done.
If anything has fallen by the wayside in my 2x2x2 Daily Writing Method, it’s reading. Reading is a guilty pleasure for me. I have no problem binge-watching “The Queen’s Gambit” or “Bridgerton”, but lounging on the couch reading a good novel for two hours seems decadent. I feel guilty doing it.
I know, I have to get over it. Reading is part of my job. Oftentimes, I’m able to get two hours of reading in by listening to books while walking through my neighborhood. But the frigid temperatures and snowdrifts have delegated me to my treadmill and watching cooking shows.
So, I have to work on reading two hours a day with the understanding that this is part of my job. Did I mention I love my job?
While doing the dishes and folding laundry (since I’m not out walking), I’ll listen to The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (she’s the founder of the young adult genre). I’ve started the book and Ponyboy, the fourteen-year-old protagonist has won me over.
At night, I’m reading Jess Walter’s The Cold Millions and even though I’m halfway through I’m not convinced I like it. The writing is excellent, as expected (Walter wrote one of my favorite books Beautiful Ruins), but the storyline is heavy-handed with class warfare. Next in my fiction queue is Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell — which I’ve never read!
In nonfiction, I’m picking up Blake Boles’ Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School. It’s a good read and Blake has agreed to be a guest on my homeschooling blog! I’ll also read Lisa Cron’s Story Genius because she’s a master at the craft of writing.
I’ve got lots of great reading to get to and now that I’ve finished this newsletter (my marketing for today), that’s exactly what I’ll do!
I would love to hear about your New Year’s Resolutions.
Have they worked for you or are they long forgotten? Let me know!
Sunday, March 7th at 4:00 p.m. – Cocktails and Conversation with Samantha Hoffman of the Chicago Writers Association. Samantha and I will be talking about the research I do when writing my novels. If you check out this month’s Cocktails and Conversation on February 7th at 4:00 p.m., you’ll meet my editor Tim Storm!