Sunday, September 29, 2013

Writing Cross-Training

I got to write yesterday. That shouldn't sound like a big deal since I am, after all, a writer, but since I began the new adventure known as college level teaching, I've been so immersed in planning and teaching lessons that I've been lucky to post a blog, let alone work on a writing project.

But yesterday, I got to focus my attention on writing. Granted, it was the business end (queries and proposals), but I was struck by how easy they were to do after so much time away.

But how could this be? I haven't been writing.

In adult education classes, I teach beginning writers that any writing counts. Although it's a stretch to consider a grocery list a writing project, getting any thought out of your head and onto the page is good practice. Even though I haven't been working on the writing projects I'd like to be concentrating on, I have been blogging and critiquing and creating lessons and assignments. Apparently, that has kept my writing muscles better toned than I believed it could.

When non-bloggers ask me the inevitable time management question ("Doesn't blogging take time away from your writing time?"), I respond that that's indeed a down side. But blogging also keeps me writing regularly, forces me to string together coherent thoughts, helps me toss aside perfectionism and enables me to put thousands of words on the screen that might otherwise have remained trapped in my head -- a dark and scary place if ever there was one.

And apparently, all of that non-writing writing makes it easier to access the necessary skills when I need them for the real business of writing. A wonderful sense of possibility flooded from that small beginning yesterday, igniting enthusiasm for these projects that I hope will nudge me into finding small pockets of time to keep at it, so I don't allow other responsibilities to keep me away from my writing for so long. Even better, the enthusiasm overrode any lingering doubts that too much time away from writing would mean that my skills had begun to atrophy, and that I wouldn't remember how to do it any more.

Apparently it's like riding a bike. And I don't even have to go outside to do it.