Writing Affirmation: To write is to progress

All too often, writers will read over their manuscript and then toss it down in disgust. Sure, they wrote a thousand words. Sure, there was a line or two here and there that sounded really good. But because the manuscript never matched the quality of her favorite authors or what she was aiming for writing no longer is pleasurable but becomes something to be avoided.

Procrastination comes in many forms – thinking up something else to occupy one’s time, promising to do it later then not keeping that promise, and a myriad of phony excuses for not starting. One thing is certain, though: The writer is not getting any closer to completing that book, and she’s not getting any better.

Simply put, you can only master your craft if you practice it. By writing every day, you slowly but surely improve the quality of your writing, just as if a runner practicing every day to become smoother, more efficient, and faster. Often without even realizing it, you incorporate effective styles and techniques used by writers you’ve read. You utilize strategies and advice read in writing guidebooks and blogs. You subconsciously mull over scenes and characters so that the next day your writing is ever more taut and evocative.

When you don’t write, your skills atrophy, just as certainly as the runner’s muscles soften and weaken when he doesn’t hit the track each day.

By not writing, you’ve allowed the wrong emotion to direct you down the wrong path. You’ve let fear dominate your writing. Unfortunately, often the fear of doing a task takes up more energy than simply doing it. Yet you can only strengthen your writing skills by practicing them, by working out at the notepad or the keyboard.

Don’t fret over the quality of writing on a day-to-day basis; just know that certainly, over time, it’s improving. And the next time procrastination-causing fear strikes, remember the words of author Sam Horn: “I have never met an author who was sorry he or she wrote a book. They are only sorry they did not write it sooner.”