Effective Writer or Fraud?

Peggy Jaeger, a fellow romance writer, has launched a series of blog posts based on my RWR article, “The Seven Habits of Effective Writers”.  This is amazingly flattering.  Sadly, it’s also cringe-worthy as I am currently failing in regards to all seven of the effective habits.

For those of you who didn’t/don’t read the Romance Writers’ Report, the Seven Habits are:

1. Write first
2. Establish structure
3. Know herself/himself
4. Be judicious regarding promotion
5. Strike a strong balance between writing
and personal life
6. Cultivate strong support systems
7. Treat writing as a small business

I created this list after interviewing several authors with far better productivity than me.  Back when I swore I was going to become a more productive writer.

Then summer came.  And Lt. Tattoo came home from college.  My son is charming, fun to be with, and incredibly distracting.  Take yesterday, for example.  I swore I was going to hit the pages early and get my words written.  Turned out to be Tattoo’s day off. Before I knew it, he was entertaining me with stories from his work day over coffee.  I only got half the words I wanted on the page.  As for structure?  Well, screw structure.  That went out the window weeks ago.

Thus, when I saw Peggy’s tweets about her blog, I felt a wee bit like a fraud.  After all, if one is going to write about productivity, shouldn’t one be…oh I don’t know… productive?  Especially when one has  book due in 90 days?

But then a funny thing happened.  I logged onto my email and discovered that I wasn’t the only one suffering from procrastination and summer-itis.  NO ONE was being particularly effective this week.

Which lead me to an epiphany: Smart Writers Accept that Sometimes They Fall Off the Wagon.  No one can be 100% effective 100% of the time. Life won’t let you.  Kids get sick. Kids come home from school.  Husbands take vacation.  You get  distracted by a beautiful summer day.  It happens.  The trick to keep the habits in mind so you can get back on the effective wagon the next day.

The very wise and talented Susan Meier – who gave me so much terrific fodder for the original article – gave me more terrific advice this morning.  She said “The idea is to work toward keeping habits. I look at habits like goals…some days I hit them, some days I don’t. Having them is half the battle.”

Reading those words made me feel a lot better.

PS: If you want to read the interviews I conducted for the RWR article, the links are on the homepage.

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