Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Writing with Enemies and Friends by Danielle DeFauw

As a teacher-writer, I notice a consistent presence of enemies and friends.

Enemy #1: Fear!
Enemy #2: Procrastination.

I write for personal and professional purposes and audiences, and no matter the context, I have battled the voice in my head:

You really think you have something to say that people will want to read? You’re wasting your time. What can you add that others don’t already know?

And the voice goes on, but I’ll spare you the details.

That inner voice blocks me. Too often, I simply do not write. I wait. And I keep waiting until I remember my Friends.

Friend #1: SMART Goals
Friend #2: Grit

Luckily, Friends #1 and #2 combat both those enemies:

The only way I write is if I set time to write.

My SMART Goal (Goal #1) is to write for academic purposes one hour a day, Monday through Friday, and document the time and tasks completed with tomorrow’s wish items. If I meet my academic writing goal, my reward is not chocolate. It’s more writing (Goal #2).

I discovered I could never silence the angst in my heart to write children’s literature, so I made writing one hour a day in children’s literature my reward.

Grit helps me meet those goals more days than not. I literally set a stopwatch and when there are interruptions, I stop the timer, take care of my kids, husband, students, or someone else, and then I continue the stopwatch.

No matter how beautifully busy my day is, I can usually find four pockets of fifteen minutes to meet Goal #1, which propels me into meeting Goal #2.

Of course, I prefer to write with no interruptions and some days I do. With just fifteen minutes at a time, fear and procrastination lose their grip on my writer’s voice.

Danielle L. DeFauw, Ph.D., is an associate professor of reading and language arts at the University of Michigan - Dearborn. She can be reached at Join her blog: Writing Connections. Follow her on Twitter: danielle_defauw.

1 comment:

  1. Fear and procrastination (along with comparison and doubt) are my constant companions as a writer too. Have you ever read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield? He has named these things 'resistance' and has (quite humorously) written a book that draws them out into the light so we can name them and move on. It's really good!


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