In Author Words 10 NTS WRIT IN10GWritingCCommitments OM MITforME 2015 for 20 15 by Claire Fullerton B ecoming a full-time writer was a growth process that began with a weekly column in my hometown newspaper followed by magazine publications, awards in contests, and multiple publications in a worldwide book series. After I wrote and began promoting my first novel, I wrote a second, which will be published in March of 2015. Currently, I am laying the promotional framework for my second novel while I write my third, and although this may seem like a vortex of work, it’s the life I’ve worked painstakingly to achieve, and I love every minute of the build. I’ve discovered that my career all comes down to a disciplinary juggling act of priorities in order to complete my goals. But the thing about working towards goals is one size doesn’t fit all: it’s an individual process predicated on many variables including outside interests, other responsibilities, and even temperament. I thought I had all my vagaries in a manageable rhythm until I took a good look at my writing habits and realized I’d been wasting time. What became glaringly clear to me is that no well-intentioned goal in the world can compete with that which stands in the way, and oh the humility that came from realizing I needed to prioritize my time. I know now that my progress isn’t so much about a daily agenda as it is about resisting the temptation to become sidetracked, so I’ve resolved to change all that in the New Year by committing to a schedule that includes habits to break. Maybe some of these will resonate with you. 1. I will no longer turn on my computer each morning and get caught up in my homepage. Mine is customized with my interests, and therefore holds all the danger of a runaway train. I will no longer become involved in the weather forecast, my horoscope, nor which celebrity has pulled what shenanigan. 2. I will no longer look at Facebook before I begin my day’s task to see who’s living the high-life in what locale. It occurs to me that my friend list can do without my immediate likes and comments. 3. Although I will check my email for anything urgent, I will resist the temptation to look at anything superfluous that has wormed its way to my inbox. All writers groups I’ve joined with their ongoing discussions can wait, as can all promotions from retail outlets I once ordered from. 6 Southern Writers 4. Once I’ve called up my prioritized work, I will silence my inner critic who suggests another writer could say it better. I will not look over my own shoulder as I write; I will remember writing is about re-writing. 5. I will not concern myself with producing a certain amount of words or pages per day. I will write from my natural flow and call it the best I’ve got for the day. 6. With regard to novel writing, I will let go of my tendency to review what I wrote days, or even weeks ago. The temptation is too keen to scratch the itch of editing, which can become a complete time waster. I will allow myself to look at a preceding scene in order to keep a flow, but I will keep a firm line of demarcation and set my sight on moving forward until my first draft is complete. 7. I will let go of the need to be brilliant. I will trust my own voice. 8. I will stop looking at my words through another’s eyes. 9. I will throw away the thought that I will be judged (especially if I’m writing a first draft.) 10. I will remember I write because I love it, and that it is its own reward. In 2015, I will adhere to this list like a daily devotional. I will print it out and display it on the bulletin board hanging above my desk with a straight-pin whose head says, “Imagine.” I will put it beside the autograph of a writer who inspires me (whose name I’ll withhold because that’s another kettle of fish). I will straighten up the room where I write and call it hallowed ground, then take out my yellow highlighter and emphasize the tenth point on my list until it glows. n Claire Fullerton is the author of the paranormal mystery novel A Portal in Time (Vinspire Publishing). She is a two-time award winning essayist, a newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines, and a multiple contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Claire’s second novel, Dancing to an Irish Reel, is coming in March.