you are what you do

Dovetailing continues. Or perhaps it’s serendipity. In any case, I rediscovered the Harvard Business Review. It contains a surprising number of articles that are helpful to novelists. If you haven’t thought about your purpose, read this. It is the key to discovering your personal fuel that will keep you going when things get rough on any level. This morning I read Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything. That would include writing! And the article includes what I’ve been discussing in recent posts. If you are a writer, you write. If you want to be an excellent writer, you write a lot. I need to write more. My discipline writing ritual has faltered in the last year or so and I need to write more hours a day. That said, hours daydreaming are not wasted for the fiction writer provided those hours are directed to a purpose: imagining yourself as someone else or in another time or place, in detail (or as I discovered with this round of revisions, spend the time imagining solutions/allow time for insight). This is not you playacting, but really being someone  or somewhere different while building up empathy, compassion, attention to detail, especially sensory detail, and so on. Want to know how to handle your agent, career or how to evaluate an agent’s style? Take a look at The Delicate Balance of Being Perfectly Assertive. Yes, most of the articles are “business-y,” but if you get past that, there’s a wealth of information on the site to apply to both your writing and career.

I fell back into thinking it’s about will and discipline, but as I was reminded via one of the links above, it’s not. Writing a novel is about establishing a writing ritual that works for you. Same with exercise and so on. I do much better when I exercise first thing in the morning. Too many excuses build up during the day. Same with writing. My only problem is choosing which one to do first!

More on the intersection of business, work habits and writing: if you are a Harry Potter fan, take a look at Oprah’s interview with JK Rowling. 6 parts, no commercials.