Writing Tuesday: One word at a time

The beginning of the twenty-first century is a boon to impatient people like myself. Everywhere I look, there are ways to improve your life and attain results faster. In the mornings, there are breakfast foods designed for convenience. Need to leave in a few minutes, make instant oatmeal or pop a waffle in the toaster. Throughout the day, there’s no need to wait for the six o’clock news anymore to catch up with the events of the day. Online websites catch us up instantaneously with up to the minute details of the news. Social media and cell phones connect us to friends and family without delay, definitely quicker than having to wait for the weekends to call out of town loved ones when the rates decreased.

But faster is not always better. In the mornings, not much beats real homemade pancakes slathered in syrup. Unless it’s French toast covered in the ooey, gooey, sticky stuff. Sometimes it’s relaxing to read a print newspaper with a warm cup of tea (or if you must, a cup of coffee). And sometimes, calling a friend when you have time for a real honest to goodness talk rather than reading their latest Facebook post has no equals either.

As a writer, I’m discovering that it takes time to develop craft. While there is the rare person whose talent shines through immediately, I’m not that person. I’m learning every day something new about writing. On Saturday, I learned that every action invokes an emotional reaction. This week, I’m learning that spending time consistently each time with your character friends adds up to a lot of words over the course of eighteen days. The magic of writing is that the words add up one word at a time. The more time you spend thinking about your work and crafting your story, the more it shows in the manuscript. Perhaps one of the best things a writer can do for his or her work is to write consistently. Hey, I’m a mom of four. I know it’s not always possible for everyone to have that block of time set aside every day for writing. But a speaker (who I admire greatly) said something at a conference I attended last year that resonated with me. She asked if we all like spending time with friends. She said that our book characters should be our friends and that we should try to spend time with them to get their stories down in the printed form.

So one word at a time adds up to several words over the course of a day which leads to several thousand words a week. Somedays it’s a struggle when I first sit in front of my laptop. After all, I want to see the latest results from a tennis tournament or the latest review for the new Muppets movie. But I also want to tell the story of my character friends. And that can only happen one word at a time.

What about you? What do you like to do that is better the more you devote time to it? Is it a favorite recipe? Is it a favorite hobby like knitting or playing tennis? Let me know.

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