Today is Saturday, the first day of the New Year, and at this moment writers everywhere are struggling out of bed, slurping some coffee (maybe with a couple of aspirins), and parking their behinds in front of their computers, making a heroic start at fulfilling their New Year's Writing Resolutions.
You know which resolutions I'm talking about. In the past few days, internet bulletin boards, e-mail loops, and blogs have been buzzing with published and still-working-on-it writers asserting that this year, they will become Disciplined Writers.
Some vow to write for x-number of hours each day. Others swear they won't get up from their computers until they've written x-number of pages. But all confess that they've been procrastinating, and they're determined that this year, they will write more by writing on a regular basis.
I just can't wrap my brain around that. I can't imagine anyone having to force herself to write.
Oh, don't admire me. I am not a disciplined individual by any stretch. Quite the opposite, in fact. To me, writing is an addiction. Writing, rewriting, and even editing are even more difficult for me to resist than this Christmas box of Godiva truffles sitting here on my desk. I'd rather write than do just about anything else. So for me, self-discipline is required to get up from the computer.
When I open a Word file, it takes only a couple of minutes, sometimes mere seconds, for me to slip into the zone. That's what I call it when I fall headlong into my story world and actually become the hero or the heroine (depending on whose point of view I'm writing from), and live the story as my own. I resent interruptions, even good ones, like somebody coming to the door to bring me flowers, as happened yesterday. (Yes, I was writing on New Year's Eve. Even though I had ordered myself to take the day off. I'll probably write today, too.)
If my house caught fire while I was writing, I probably wouldn't get up from this computer until the keys I'm clacking on right now melted under my fingertips. Yes, I'm the Queen of Hyperbole, but this time I'm not exaggerating. Not all that much, anyway.
Have you ever watched a baby fight sleep? He's terrified that if he closes his eyes, he'll miss something good. So even though his little body is saying, Dude, it's night-night time, let's give this up, his eyes remain stubbornly at half-mast. That's how I write. When I'm too busy or too tired to write another paragraph, I beg myself for another twenty minutes. And when that twenty minutes is up, I want twenty more.
So if I ever do make a Writing Resolution, it's likely to be, "Don't write more than x-hours at a time." Or possibly, "Choose 'business hours' for writing and don't write outside of them."
Maybe I'll do that some day. But for right now, I'm just not disciplined enough to follow through.