Baby Steps…

25 Feb

I find that as I get older it takes me longer to do things, with work and my other activities it cuts into my actual writing time. Because of some health concerns, I have had to look at losing weight and getting more fit. I have made getting fit a priority whether I wanted to or not. I am working on finding a balance between fitness and writing that will enable me to succeed at both. I have learned to say no to some foods and I am learning to say no to things that are keeping me from my writing goals.

Here are some of the things I do that feed my desire to write:

  • I belong to a couple different writers’ groups and have for a while. I think meeting regularly with writers gives me the outlet I need to want to continue. I watch their success and it feeds my desire to succeed. Two of our members, who write as a team, had their first book published, ‘Desperate Housedogs’. It is the first of four that they sold and the second will be coming out some time soon. It is titled ‘Get Fluffy’. You need to check them out.
  • I am critiquing with another member of IRN and that has helped feed my desire to write. My critique partner Kelly writes so well, it truly is a pleasure to read her stuff. The story I am currently reading has been chosen as a finalist in a writing contest from an RWA chapter in Texas. I am looking forward to seeing her win.
  • The one thing I am doing as part of Iowa Romance Authors is a weekly post to the members to motivate and encourage. It is just a small piece and doesn’t take long. I do well with deadlines so this is a good fit. I know they expect it from me and I hate disappointing people. Now if I could only get that attitude with my own writing.
  • I have a 40 minute commute daily for work and have been listening to the Craft CD’s from RWA as I drive. If you have ever been thinking about joining the organization, these alone are worth it.  This week I listened to Suzanne Brockman and Lee Child do a workshop. They discussed how to draw both male and female readers. Sounded like Lee had a good time with the mostly female audience, he had some great ideas. It was really entertaining. Another one was with Alexandra Sokoloff. She is a Hollywood screenwriter turned novelist. She had some great suggestions for the planning process.

A few things I have given up:

  • Last year I served on the Iowa Romance Novelist’s board as Treasurer and Secretary of the local Sister’s in Crime chapter. Granted it wasn’t real time consuming but it was two more items on my ever growing to do list. I decided to step back from board activities this year to focus more on my own work.
  • I use rewards for my weight loss. When I reach 5, 10, 15, 20 pounds lost, I plan to reward myself. I am doing the same thing with writing. Television is a reward. I will not watch garbage just to avoid writing. I am not a saint; there are some shows I really love. Have not become a fan of Downton Abbey yet but I might down the road. There are so many bad shows on television I have turned to Netflix. I order the DVD’s and then I can watch exactly what I want to watch, when I want to watch it. That is the trick. That little DVD can sit there forever until I’ve written what I need to write for the day. Then I can reward myself with an episode of ‘Supernatural’, ‘Haven’, or whatever older series I’m currently trying to catch up on.
  • Books – I confess, I am a bibliophile, I love books. I use them as rewards for both weight loss and writing. I save buying them until I have earned them.

I admit I get discouraged because I wish I had longer periods of time to sit down and actually write but in reality I don’t. I have to learn to be happy with the 10-20 minutes at a time I get most days and just push forward instead of thinking it’s not worth the effort. Anything in the right direction should be worth it.

Writing is more than sitting down typing words. Even when I am not actually writing, I am usually thinking about the story as I go about my everyday business. That can pull me into the story when I do find the time.

I have continued to work out the details of my story and characters and though it’s not exactly the story I thought it was with the first scene that came to me, I think it’s a better story for having taken the time to let everything percolate. It’s like digging for stuff in the sand at the beach, most of the time you will get someone else’s smashed pop can or cigarette butt but occasionally you find a sea shell or a sand dollar, or if you’re lucky the diamond ring someone lost 50 years ago. I think I’ve let it stew long enough. This is the week that I will get back to my novel. I just have to have guts enough to write a crappy first draft to get it done.

I keep working toward my weight loss goals and feel I’ve met with some success. My goal is 1.5 lbs. a week. So far I am down 6 in 4 weeks. They may be baby steps but they are in the right direction. I will use that attitude toward my writing goal.  Baby steps can get me to The End.

What keeps you motivated to write when you can’t sit down for long periods of time each day?



Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Writing a Novel


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4 responses to “Baby Steps…

  1. Kathy

    February 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Congratulations on your start at getting fit. I’m in a similar boat–have to get fit or deal with the consequences. I think it’s smart to reward yourself at frequent intervals, for both weight loss and writing. It keeps everything positive.

    Do you ever compose while you’re commuting? My characters used to talk inside my head while I drove. Then when I stopped and pulled out pen and paper, they hushed. Infuriating.


    • virginiagruver

      February 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Kathy. I can’t say I compose while driving but I do listen to books usually. This month I have been listening to RWA Conference CD’s on craft. I do pay attention but catch myself thinking about how I could use the advice with my current project. I have never had my characters talk to me. I usually have scenes pop into my head. Hope your writing is going well.


  2. K

    February 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Sounds like you are doing what it takes to get healthy and also to write. I have been dealing with depression issues that are preventing me from being overly productive. I go to work and look forward to spending time with my son – otherwise I am hardpressed to do anything much. I’m doing better but think I need to take a hard look at myself to find out where the problems are. Hopefully I can bounce back soon and get my writing back on track. Good to see you writing posts!


    • virginiagruver

      February 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      So sorry to hear about the depression. I understand. I had a health scare that spurred me into the get fit phase. Found out I am high risk for cancer. Oncologist put me on a drug they use for cancer patients that is supposed to cut my risk in half. Have to take it for 5 years. Because of the side effects figured it wouldn’t hurt to get into the best shape I can in the meantime. Since finding this out, it has cut my desire to write too. But I refuse to let it get me down.



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