During my several nights of non-writing since I attended a single-day writer’s conference last weekend, one message has scrolled through my head like the banner across the bottom of a news show: You must write every single day.
One speaker at the workshop said that even one day without writing negatively impacts our craft. I couldn’t believe one lazy (or busy) day zaps away progress faster than a slice of cheesecake derails a diet. I could see several weeks eroding past gains, but one day?
It got me thinking (when I should, perhaps, have been writing) that maybe my opinion is skewed by the fact that if her statement is true, it means I’m destined for mediocrity, at best. That’s all I need: one more under-developed skill that will never be honed into excellence.
I could lay writing to rest with all the other things that I’ve enjoyed, but don’t excel at: playing the clarinet, drawing, painting, bowling, modeling. Okay, that last one was just to see if you were paying attention…but if I were 6 inches taller, 20 years younger and had a pretty pouty face, I’d have a chance. (Not really…)
The same speaker made a suggestion to write down five novel ideas each day. I may not write every day, but my creativity doesn’t rest. I have lots of ideas, and a few of them make it to paper. I don’t have five ideas a day, but at least I’ve got some ideas for a rainy day (or another reason to shake my head and wonder, ‘What was I thinking???’)
Sometimes I don’t have story ideas at all, but creativity happens anyway.
Last weekend, I made a flag stand out of scrap wood (which Home Depot kindly cut for free.) It only cost me $1.53 since I already had paint on hand. It has gotten rave reviews (my older son said it looked ‘cool’)
I’m also helping my younger son disguise his Thanksgiving turkey for a school assignment. I came up with five ideas and he settled on the jack-o-lantern. We’re in the design stages and gluing will happen this weekend.
Finally, I had an idea for a funny cartoon (compliments of lack of sleep). I did get it drawn, but you’ll have to wait until Sunday to see it. It fits in with the post I’m thinking of doing. (Again, more thinking than writing at the moment!)
Maybe it’s true. Maybe I never will be a great writer. Maybe my skills will continue to get stronger,and then atrophy as I navigate through life, leaving me no better (or worse) than before. Then again, maybe if I can’t write myself out of a paper bag, I can always create a window.
What do you say? How long does it take for under-used skills to get rusty?