Getting back to thinking about writing as a happy chore
When I was a little girl, like other little girls, I had to take piano lessons. This was not a happy time for me. My piano teacher, Mrs. Kimpton, reduced me to tears on many occasions. It wasn’t her fault though; I take all responsibility for each week’s emotional drama. The problem was that I didn’t practice.
I was supposed to practice 30 minutes every day, starting with scales, working my way through the Royal Conservatory lessons, and experimenting with Hooked on Classics.
But here’s what usually happened: I would get home from school and either watch TV, read a book, or chase muskrats at the creek behind our house. (Yes, it’s hard to believe I was a tomboy once, considering what a delicate flower I am today.) To me, practicing piano was a chore; it was something I had to do. And there were so many other more enjoyable things to do instead.
As a consequence, I never ended up loving to play the piano. Although I enjoyed the end product, I was happier to be done, than to be doing.
Fast-forward to today, and I’ve fallen into some of those same bad habits.
The Restless Writers have monthly (-ish) sessions. The day after last month’s session, I promised myself that I would write 500 words a day, just like those classy and committed Wordbitches out west.
One day into a week filled with work, freelance commitments, household responsibilities and an attempt to fit in some exercise, I was telling myself, “Okay, you can skip today, but you absolutely must write 1,000 words tomorrow.” The next day was worse. I’m sure you can see the inevitable word-count snowball coming a mile away.
Our meeting’s on Friday—and if I don’t write a novella by Thursday evening, I’ve got nothing for my girls. Sigh…
So my lesson for today is to get back on track. Get back to writing a little every day. And get back to loving writing a little every day. Don’t let writing become a dreary chore—write for the beauty of language, the pleasure of creation, the excitement of story-telling.
Every session with the Restless Writers is an opportunity to get motivated. Here’s to backing up that motivation with action, and thinking about writing as a happy chore.
Have you ever considered writing a chore? And does that thought motivate or de-motivate you?