A Guest Post
Resolving to Write
by Melanie Springer Mock
For years, calling myself a writer was problematic. I mean, I wanted to be a writer, and liked the idea of having written. Yet when I said, “I’m a writer,” I felt a bit of a fraud–especially when claiming this identity to my students. Sure, I was a writing teacher, and had the credentials, the job, and the late-night grading sessions to prove it. But to be a writer, one actually had to write regularly. Right?
Just before January 2010, I decided to end my fraudulent ways and begin the task of actually developing a writing discipline. My New Year’s resolution for 2010 was to write 250 words a day, no matter what–to make space for myself in the midst of parenting and teaching and a million other things. The number itself seemed arbitrary, and there was no magic in the 250 word prescription, save that 250 words equaled one typewritten page, the same length I required for daily writing assignments from my students.
Like most folks, my News Year’s resolutions–eat less candy! Enough of the Diet Coke!–lose steam by mid-January; by February 15, I’m buying Â½ priced Necco hearts at Walgreens, hiding them in my kitchen, then washing them down with soda pop when my two boys are in bed. This writing resolution stuck, though, and for two-and-a-half years now, I’ve written 250 or more a day, every day.
The writing isn’t always good, nor are my writing times ideal. I’ve written in bed after a long night’s sickness, and while riding in the car, with squirmy boys in the backseat. Recently, on a family trip to Asia, I wrote 500 words on a trans-Pacific flight, not sure when one day ended and another began. At least twice, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I remembered I hadn’t written, so dragged myself from bed and wrote, begrudgingly.
Like most streaks, I’m sure this one will end some day, when I weary of my writing practice becoming too rote and legalistic. For now, the resolution has done what it intended: I’ve become more disciplined, and have written enough material to feel like I am truly a writer. My next goal? Adding revision to my routine, so that the mass of material I’ve written in the last two-and-a-half years can take more decisive shape.
Join our After Page One series. We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio at the bottom of your post so readers can learn more about you and your projects.