Writing Challenge 2016

When the Barnes and Nobles, next to my job, was still open, I had ventured inside for the sake of indulging in the smell and feel of a bookstore. It had been years since I had entered a bookstore and perused the shelves without much purpose. Usually, I was in there in search of a book for my mother or sister, or a study guide for myself. But this day, in particular, I had no purpose to be in there. I wondered into the store because it would be closing soon. I scanned the shelves for a good read because I couldn’t remember the last time I picked up a book and actually read it. I had become so consumed with motherhood and work, that leisurely reading wasn’t a thing anymore. Even writing, my favorite pastime was no longer a thing. 

I picked out the book “Love” by Toni Morrison, out of principle (I’m determined to read all of her work), and then found myself in the study guide section, looking at the titles of books meant to help you become a better writer. I plucked a few off the shelf and rushed to the checkout line to avoid spending more money than I should on books that I would probably never get around to reading.

One of the books I purchased, “How to Be a Writer with a Day Job” hung out in my purse for months, as if through osmosis I would have read all the information inside of it. Finally, after my bag started getting too heavy, I removed it.

One of the parts I read in the book was about how a man had written an entire novel using nothing more than his lunch break over the course of several months. After reading it, I spent the next month, skipping out on a meal at lunch and sitting in the park with my Kindle and the Word app opened up on it. I remembered using my entire lunch hour typing something and then deleting it and repeating, until after a month, I had nothing more than a potential title and concept for what I wanted to write.

I quickly realized that I wasn’t one of those writers that could write in a timed environment. That scheduling my creativity just didn’t work. When it was time to write, it was time to write. It didn’t matter if I had just spent the past hour twiddling my thumbs and staring at a blank Word document. It didn’t matter if I was in the middle of a phone call. When my hands were finally ready to compose the creative thoughts that were looming inside of my head, I had to let them.

The result was my work notes being mixed with creative ones. That on the same page I had written the opening scene to a piece was my scribbled handwriting denoting a work related task that needed to be completed, or a shorthand note from an earlier telephone conversation. 

It was obvious that working a 9-5 and trying to be a writer had serious time conflicts. And I had no idea how to work past them. 

Honestly, I still don’t, but the hope is that sooner rather than later, I will no longer be subjected to such work constraints thus inhibiting my writing. But in the meantime, my goal is to challenge myself to get on a semi-regular schedule of writing that will train me to be prepared to write around a set time every day. And hopefully, it will encourage regular writing.

So my challenge for myself over the course of the next month (last day being June 11) is to write every day starting at 9pm. 

Yes, there will be incidents. Yes, I will forget some days. Yes, I will stare at a blank page. But the goal is to get myself into the habit. Unfortunately, I’m not blessed like other writers who have the ability and flexibility to hibernate as they write a piece. I’m a mother and I have a full-time job. I have to pick a time and just go for it and that’s what I plan on doing. 

For the next month, I plan to chronicle my journey, but don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with posts every day providing you with updates. I will make one post on Mondays (with the exception of today since I’m just starting the challenge) and update it throughout the week. 

I’m actually very excited about this challenge and getting started, but I will tame my need to write and reserve it for the 9pm hour. 

Wish me luck!

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