There she was, sitting in her ratty, old bathrobe. She brought the coffee cup to her lips, her face unwashed, her teeth unbrushed, her hair a wild mess.
She grunted as her hands reached out to caress its keyboard. If it could, her computer would have shaken its monitor.
“Where has all the romance gone?” it thought.
On the cusp of Valentine’s Day, we’re reminded that, as writers, we often have performance issues.
“What am I supposed to blog about today?” we think, casting around for something new but falling back on the same old routine.
Just as in a romantic relationship, once we have a long-term commitment, we tend to take it for granted.
“He (she, it) will always be there,” we think, so we just stop making the extra effort.
How do we put the romance — the spark — back into our writing process? Here are some of my ideas.
Procrastination is bad!
We all know those people (some of us are those people) who wait until the last minute to buy that Valentine’s Day card or present. What are they left with? Sappy, ugly cards and half-dead flowers.
When we write, we need to allow ourselves time to give our full attention to our writing. If we don’t, well, it ends up being, “Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.” It gets done, but it’s not pretty.
Don’t limit it to one “day.”
How many people do you know buy their loves all kinds of wonderful, expensive presents on Valentine’s Day but bring nothing home the rest of the year? News flash: doing little things throughout the year means a heck of a lot more.
The same goes for our writing. Don’t save your best for that one, “big” work. When we think about our audience all the time, we’ll pick up things here and there that we want to share. We’ll say, “Oh! That’s good! I’ll have to blog about that.”
It’s never about me.
Writers fall into this trap all the time, and it’s tough getting out. We write what we want to say and forget about what our reader needs or wants. It’s, “Me! Me! Me!”
If I had a lover like that, I’d slap him silly. Since our readers can’t slap us, they’ll just ignore us. That’s worse.
It takes a continuous effort.
Relationships and writing require a constant effort to keep them vibrant. When we set things aside to do them later, we end up with a mess. I call this “The Dishwashing Principle.”
Listen, I hate washing dishes, but the more I put it off, the bigger the pile gets. The bigger the pile gets, the less I want to wash them.
The same goes for writing. If you are faced with having a pile of things to write, you get overwhelmed. That’s why writing every day (something, anything) is important. It may not be the final product, but you’ll be amazed how many ideas for a final product you can get that way.
Spontaneity is good!
Sometimes we just have to do something completely off the wall to push our lovers or readers out of the humdrum. We remember the things that are special, not the everyday things.
The good news is that we don’t have to be spontaneous all the time. (Then it wouldn’t be spontaneity, would it?) But we do have to remember to throw that curve ball once in a while to keep things interesting.
Like any good relationship, we need to take the time and make the effort to “romance” our readers. The result can be amazing.
Hmmm. Maybe tomorrow I ought to get dressed before I sit down to write.