pen and paper image
(Image courtesy of creativedoxfoto via freedigitalphotos.net)

Quite by accident I found an article on writing this morning by Robert Harris from The Guardian, September 2008. He begins by saying that writing a novel “is not a skill that can be taught” and continues:
There is no standard way of doing it, just as there is no means of telling, while you’re doing it, whether you’re doing it well or badly. And just because you’ve done it well once doesn’t mean you can do it well again. The whole process is a mystery, devoid of rules or fairness.

(For the full article go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/sep/20/robertharris.writing.fiction?CMP=twt_gu)

The mystery Harris describes is one I’m finding myself in the midst of right now: having recently published my first novel I’m feeling the pressure to come up with something new, something better …in fact at this stage I’d be happy to come up with anything at all! Prior to and in the weeks since my novels release I’ve been doing some major procrastinating, worried that I whatever I write next won’t be up to scratch. But now that the new year is just around the corner I know I need to get writing – hence the January Challenge to write daily.

In order to do that I need to set myself some goals. From previous experience I know that my goals need to be:
• realistic and achievable
• phrased postitively (Do rather than Don’t)
• specific

I’ve been nutting out those goals over the last few days, not just for January but for the year. Part of making them achievable is to break them down from long term (yearly), to medium term (monthly) to short term (daily and weekly). Tomorrow I’ll be sharing those goals in an effort to make myself more accountable – once you tell people what you’re hoping to achieve it pushes you to work harder to make those goals happen.

And I’m consoling myself with the words of Phillip Roth (quoted in the same article by Harris):

Over the years … what you develop is tolerance for your own crudeness. And patience with your own crap, really. belief in your crap, which is just ‘stay with your crap and it will get better, and come back every day and keep going’.

That’s what I’m aiming for in January, to keep writing every day. I’ll be posting a record of my progress here on the blog along with daily tips and inspirational quotes to keep us all writing.

I hope you’ll join me!