By Katie Corbett
Here’s the next part of the essay on writing. Enjoy!
Finding inspiration used to be one of the biggest road-blocks for me. I used to just write whenever the mood struck, but that wasn’t nearly enough to justify writing every day. Fortunately, I discovered “Naming the World,” by Bret Anthony Johnston. The book is packed with writing prompts and exercises on every topic pertaining to writing, from starting stories, to character development, to point-of-view and tone. Without the prompts to spark my muse, I’d still be sitting at my keyboard, waiting for her to show up.
As for word-count, I try to write at least 500 words per day. The guideline gives me something to push for, yet it is attained easily enough to not be an arduous rule. This is necessary as I am still adjusting to having the full-time job I started in January, which doesn’t leave me much time to write.
As with anything, maintaining balance is most challenging. I love to write, but I love to read as well—fiction and nonfiction alike. I have also decided I want to research getting an MFA in fiction, so research—not to mention applying to prospective programs—cuts into my available time. I try to write a short piece or poem each night, because I can usually spare an hour or two in the evenings for my personal pursuits, and sometimes I’ll have gained ideas or inspiration throughout the day. Then, I might read a bit of nonfiction—mostly pertaining to the craft of writing. While I’m lying in bed at night, I’ll break out a novel or collection of short stories and read a chapter or story—or two. I also read fiction while on the bus traveling to and from work, which, in addition to making my commute more interesting, buys me a little more time to write each day.
The one area which still lacks a time-slot in my schedule right now is seeking potential places to publish my work. I have the resources—I’ve gotten a few books that list literary magazines and publishing houses—but I haven’t put much effort into setting a time to do market research. Part of that might be a confidence issue. I keep wondering why anyone would want to read my writing. All writers have this problem, though, so once I get back into a critique group—and into a network of supportive fellow writers who know the struggles and set-backs writers face—I think it might be easier to have faith in my pieces as potentially-publishable works.
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