During the Muse Online Writers Conference, I gave a workshop titled Organize Your Writing Life. Attendees and I talked about getting organized and removing clutter, setting SMART goals and breaking them down into smaller chunks. We prioritized to-do items and discussed ways to remove distractions and avoid interruptions.
In honor of everyone who partcipated in this workshop, I would like to offer the following quote:
"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."--Groucho Marx
Now, the irony of this quote exists in the fact that Marx was a film star, having made several films with his brothers, in addition to, having a successful solo career.
But when I think of this quotation in regards to aspiring authors, it reminds me of those times when writers complain of distractions taking them away from their writing. This week, I've allowed distractions to take a hold of me and my work week has been less productive than it has been in a long time. I am faced with a difficult decision and I know that I am doing my best to avoid making that decision by letting my mind and fingers wander out to surf the Internet and answer emails rather than sit down to work.
Why? Because my husband has put the pressure on and I'm not comfortable with it.
Our financial situation dictates that after the first of the year I will need to make significantly more money working from home or that I will need to secure a part-time position outside of the house. Ever since this discussion I have not been able to focus. There are still so many ideas running around in my head and I know that I can make money writing if, and only if, I stick to it.
So, I share this Marx quote with you for two reasons. The first is a reminder that distractions keep you from realizing your full potential, and therefore, when you find yourself surfing the Internet or watching TV instead of writing, you need to stop, figure out why you are avoiding writing and take steps to get back into your daily writing schedule.
The second reason that I feel this quote is so important for aspiring authors is that reading, especially in the genres you hope to be published in, will help you hone your craft. So, instead of vegetating in front of the boob tube, walk away and pick up a book from your favorite author. Dissect it in a way that you never have before. Ask yourself why he or she described things in a particular way. Spend time figuring out why you like or dislike each character. Give thought to the plot and the setting. This just might be the inspiration that helps you get going again.
And even when you don't feel like it, WRITE! This isn't elementary school anymore. No one is going to give you an "F" if you don't turn in your assignment. But, you won't become a published author by avoiding your writing schedule.
Remember, you have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a lifelong resident of Western Mass and an award-winning REALTOR® with Real Living Realty Professionals. Her background in management, financial services, and social media marketing served as an excellent foundation for her real estate career.
Ms. Malandrinos is also a freelance writer, children’s author, editor and blogger. A 2005 graduate of Long Ridge Writers Group, she writes articles about time management and organization. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and Amos Faces His Bully. She has edited numerous manuscripts in a variety of genres and ghostwritten a Christian chapter book.
Above all, Cheryl is an imperfect Christian wife and mother doing her best and hoping she makes a difference.