Exercising Writing Muscles

“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.”
Jane Yolen

Lately I’ve been trying to get in the habit of “exercising” my writing muscles everyday (or, at least most days). At least three days a week I devote one to two hours to writing (typically from 3-5 in the afternoon). This period of time is meant to be uninterrupted time that I treat the same way I would a job. I’m finding that it’s incredibly helpful to keeping me in a writing “state of mind” all throughout the week.

However, the problem I’m having is determining when to take what’s a rough draft or random ideas written down on a page, and turn it into something more. Take, for example, my chapbook I’m working on. I have pages of writing for an essay I want to write about timber-frame barns, but I have no idea when to begin putting the pieces together into one document.  I can’t tell if I should keep writing down ideas and “rough” material for it, or should I take my own advice and just jump right in?

What do other writers do? What kind of schedule or regimen do you have, if you have one?

(Also, footnote, if you haven’t read any of Jane Yolen’s books, particularly The Pit Dragon Chronicles, you should. Dragons + Agricultural Practices + Science Fiction = Really, really interesting plot concepts.)

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About jekcarter

Farmer/Writer/Editor/Advocate for the Imaginary
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