Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wisdom for Writing

While reading my morning mail, I came across this in my daily devotional message from the Presidential Prayer Team:

"One definition for wisdom is “the skill of navigating toward a goal with precision.”" Even though the message was pointed to the leadership of this country, I quickly associated it with my writing practices.

Am I using wisdom with my writing? I'm not speaking of the text of my novel, but rather my own personal habits regarding when and how I write. To answer my own question, no; I do not navigate toward the goal with precision. The goal of course being FINISH the book!

Do I possess the skill or wisdom? Yes, I believe I have the skill to push ahead on schedule. The bigger question is, why don't I employ the skill? Hmm... Good question.

I am, by nature, a procrastinator. I've just never been a hurry-up-and-get-it-done type of person. Don't get me wrong. I'm never late! I never turned in assignments late. I've always been punctual with my work. One of my favorite examples concerns my best friend's wedding gown. I made it for her. I remember her coming over the day before the wedding asking about the dress. I calmly told her, it was almost done; all I had left was the sleeves and the hem. Yes, the dress was finished in plenty of time. She would have preferred a little wiggle room on the time-line. We laugh about it now, but seriously, if she had told me to have it ready a week before... it would have been ready a week before. Not eight days, mind you, but a week.

The problem with my book is that I don't have a due date. I just realized this! If I had a written-in-stone date that I had to meet, I'd meet it. I don't have a set number of hours per day designated for writing my book. If I did, I would fit it in. See, I have the knowledge. I know what's wrong with my habits and what I have to do to change it. I guess the wisdom part comes in when I decide to do what I know.

Are you using wisdom in your writing habits? Do you have a clear goal you are pursuing?

13 comments:

Lazy Writer said...

Great post! I'm a procrastinator, too. Deadlines stresses me out, but I do tend to meet them. Maybe I should set some writing goals, and stick to them. Thanks for pointing it out.

Stephanie Faris said...

I do self-imposed goals, but it's not like that really keeps me from procrastinating when life gets in the way...

Terri Tiffany said...

I am all about the goals:) I planned to finish all the editing on my book by Sept and then start sending out the query even more and start a new book in January.

chicamom85 said...

You offer such good advice, thank you. I am a procrastinator from way back and I pray every day to get things done. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I am much like you with getting things done on time, if you tell me you want the cake for tomorrow, you will get it tomorrow and no sooner. How cool that you made a wedding dress.

Anne

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Ouch! I need more discipline in this area.

Blessings,
Susan :)

AL said...

Wisdom? What really is wisdom...I have lots of definitions in my mind. Knowledge, logic, common sense lots of them. If you have the wisdom in writing but you keep on procrastinating the momentum would be lost. Like me...Im good in procrastinating.

AL

Rae said...

I can't answer that one. I have no goal except waking up each morning. Since I am not writing a book, the best that I can hope for is some inspiration for a blog post.

Lesley said...

I do much better when I have a deadline, too. In fact I'm pretty compulsive about meeting deadlines. I'm finding that my new "career" writing greeting cards is very challenging because there are no real deadlines at all. Maybe I need to make some up for myself!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Lily, I'm a procrastinator like you and find that if I don't have huge chunks of time to write, I just can't get into it. It's my major stumbling block. What I need is discipline to accept that getting it done little by little is better than having huge breaks inbetween.

Grandma Nina said...

I don't have a major long term goal other than to be a good mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend. But I do set goals each day for what I need or want to get done for that day. Yes, I have to set daily goals and a daily schedule or I get so distracted that I just walk in circles and get nothing done. But now that you got me thinking, I think I should set some specific long term goals. I'll work on this.

Tatiana Lensky said...

I think thats the absolute greatest and most daunting challenge about writing. Writing a book. Finishing a book. In my case, as with most of you I am assuming, its a self-induced task ie we are our own bosses.

And yes, I am one for instant gratification, like posting to my blog, writing stuff for that instead of the longer term non-instantaneous task of daily writing on my book.

Note to myself: must amend.

I am going to start small - but do 5 days a week worth of writing on my book. 1000 words. Yep. Thats what I am going to do.

thanks Lily.

SquirrelQueen said...

I don't procrastinate on day to day tasks but on long term goals I usually wait until the last second. I try to set a date of my own for completing the task. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.

When I am Rich said...

I've never yet missed a writing deadline set by someone else, but I find it much harder to stick to my own goals. I have tried pretending it's an editor who's telling me I must finish a story or the next chapter by a certain date but it rarely works.