Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

     Recently at a dinner party with people I was meeting for the first time I said, "I am a writer." 

     Well, it didn't come out exactly like that.  It was more like: 

Lauri Meyers Children's Books
     "I used to work in a big fancy corporation like you do, but then I decided to stay home with my children, and I thought maybe little old me could try to put a few words on a paper, and now I am sort of trying to, like, write a children's book or something."  Illustration note:   A blond-haired gerbil shrinks a little with each word until in tiny little 8 point font she squeaks, "I have a blog too."

     I waited for the response, presumably "Oh, that's nice dear."   But instead I heard "Oh, that's wonderful.  I always wanted to be a writer!"  Illustration note:  tiny gerbil grows bulging muscles and smiles from ear to ear.

     The guest proceeded to tell me a story about his college writing class.   It went something like:
     On the first day of class, the teacher told everyone to write for ten minutes.  The students shuffled in their seats and stared at blank papers.  They didn't know where to start.
     The next week she tortured the class again with the assignment.  After 10 minutes they dreaded handing in the unassembled bare thoughts they had written.
     She did this every week until the students wouldn't stop at ten minutes.  She had to cut them off.  The teacher told the students, "I didn't even read your papers the first week.  I started reading the third week.  By week five there was actually some pretty decent stuff.   You have to practice.  You have to do it every day."

     I remember my first month of writing when I thought I had three manuscripts ready.  But they were only "week 1" quality.   In the flurry of my 10 Query in July challenge, I have 6 manuscripts I think are ready.  But, if it turns out I'm still only at "week 5," I know what I have to do.



  1. Lauri: I am a writer. Just write.

  2. Lauri, I am a writer, too. Write every day. Commit to it like you would exercise or dieting or hugging your children. The payoff is awesome.

  3. Yes, Yes, Yes. The more we write, the more we become writers!

    1. ooh, I like the thought that if I wrote today then I can proudly say I am a writer today.

  4. You're absolutely right. Practice is essential to keep those writin' muscles limber.

    I also used to keep gerbils; they are adorable and wonderful pets.

    In short, I love every single thing about this post.

    1. I like gerbils too. But the most excitement was when I had a girl mouse and a boy mouse. They liked to, um, "practice" a lot too...

    2. I own two female fancy rats, Lucy and Ethel, who, ahem, practice as well.

  5. I remind myself of this every day: write something! Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard, but I think the consistency is the working out! Loved the story of the college prof who didn't read any of the beginning assignments!

    1. Oh dear, let's not look at my (lack of) trips to the gym over the past month. Maybe I need to link the two some how - I get to write for an extra 15 minutes if I work out? hmmmm.


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