It has been said that 10,000 hours of practice will make you an expert at anything. But think of it this way--if you write in your journal as writing practice for 10,000 hours, you will be a great journal writer! And you will probably feel very little stress over it since it has become a habit for you. But does that translate into being a good writer? Not necessarily. You must also practice writing and editing and revising and rethinking and writing some more.
I really like what Scott Kaufman says about creativity, that it must be "original, meaningful, and surprising." I think those are also good guidelines for both art and writing.
Okay. I admit it. I spend a lot of time thinking. But I spend even more time doing things. In some ways these are both paths to the same destination. Sometimes I find the solution through thought, and sometimes I stumble upon it through action.
- I spend time each day conducting visual wandering--looking at magazines and the internet.
- I usually keep this up for about an hour as I drink coffee. And I usually find something that inspires my art or my writing.
- I read. I read a lot. I study language and evaluate the writing of others. It is empowering.
- I spend time each day writing in my journal. I write in an online journal because I can type much faster than I can write on paper. But writing on paper has a different feel to it, so I try to do that sometimes, too.
- I work on my blog every day, even though I don't finish it and publish it every day.
- I make something every day. I start from scratch and make something.
- I revise things, not every day, but at least every week. When I get stuck and don't think I can make something new, I usually drag out some old work and attempt to revise it.
- And something I make a deliberate attempt to get my work shown or published.
Challenge Number Two
My challenge to you is to try to get something published. Some of you are already doing this. For those who are hesitant, try this: go to http://linesandstars.com/. This is a literary zine titled Lines and Stars: A Journal of Poetry and Short Prose. They are currently having a call for entries for six line poems. Just six lines. And the deadline is May 31. You will submit using their "Submittable" page which is really simple. You have nothing to fear and nothing to lose. Just six lines. (By the way, this is where I submitted my poem. I had a poem that was twelve lines long, and I edited out the first six lines, and realized that the poem was stronger in its shorter form. We'll see what happens!)
Then I recommend that you set up an account with Duotrope.com to track your submissions. It only costs $5.00 per month. And that is where I found this site. It is also an easily searchable database listing thousands of literary magazines. You must be willing to research these publishers to find the perfect fit for your work. And they send out a list of themed publications, which can also be inspiring.
I will close today with this:
"Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits."-- Twyla Tharp