40 Days/40 Minutes

This time of year, when it’s cold and dark and slushy outside, I feel kind of like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, when someone asks him how long winter’s going to last (“It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be dark, and it’s going to last you the rest of your lives.”). Lent falls right around this time, bridging the gap between the middle of winter and the start of spring (ish). Depending on what I choose to do for Lent, it can recharge my batteries (or make me grumpy, like the time I gave up sweets). My greatest success doesn’t come when I give something up, but when I choose do to do something positive. Last year, I focused a lot on donating–clothes, books, food–and I plan to do the same this year. But I also want to do something personal.

So, this year, I’ve decided to focus on writing. Since November, I’ve been in a funk about my lack of success in the writing world. When I get into this headspace, all I can think is: “why bother writing when no one will ever read it?” So it helps to remember why I write in the first place. It’s not to get published (though that would be nice) or to make money (also nice) but because I love to write. Without it, I feel like something’s missing from my life. I love creating worlds and characters. I love getting my characters into predicaments and trying to get them out. I love the feeling of drafting a really good scene. That’s why I need to get back to the joy of writing.

This is where 40 days/40 minutes comes in. I’ve decided that for the next 40 days, I’m going to commit to 40 minutes a day of fresh writing. It could be anything: writing sprints, character studies, backstory, deleted scenes, short stories, or scenes from a brand new novel. It just has to be new. I’ll still continue to work on my ongoing projects, since I’m the middle of revising a novel I wrote last year, but hopefully this goal will kickstart me into beginning a new project.

Normally, I’m not someone who writes every day, because I tend to go for 2 or 3 days without writing, then do 3-hour writing marathons on my days off. But I thought it might be good to switch things up. 40 minutes a day should be doable, especially if I break it down into two 20 minute sprints. If it means less time on Twitter and Facebook, that’s a good thing.

You’re welcome to join me if you want. No pressure. No prizes. Just the joy of putting words on the page.

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