Clarity for Writers

So, there's clarity for writers, and clarity about writing. Flowers_daisy_daisies_249172_l

In a post about writing clarity, I'm being clear as mud.

So let me explain.

A few days ago, I was sitting in the backyard of a friend.  Gorgeous summer night, and the surroundings were gorgeous, too: neatly mowed lawn and perfectly weeded and edged garden beds.

I thought to my own backyard, which is full of flowers, but in a wild, uncontrolled way.  My husband's currently working on a garden path when he has time and let's just say you might see a weed or two back there.

The comparison of my friend's perfect back yard with my own wild one made me feel bad for a bit.

But then I remembered something: earlier this year, after a valiant but losing battle with weeds in the front garden beds, I got very clear about something.  And that something was that I didn't want to spend a lot of time gardening.  This year I hate gardening.  (I reserve the right to love it again in the future, as I have in the past.)  This year I want to focus on writing my novel and working on my business.

Clarity for this writer.

Which makes my life so much easier.  Because I know that I have goals other than a perfect garden in mind, I don't have to waste time making myself feel bad about it.  And this goes for other things, too.

Which is where the clarity about writing comes in.

I know exactly what I want to work on in the next few months: my next novel, my writing retreats, my novel-writing class, and my coaching.   You may also know exactly what you want to write, and I hope you do, because this, too, makes life easier.  There's no fussing about with deciding what to do, you just do it.  (If you don't know what to write, may I suggest checking out my Punch for Prompt page? Choose a prompt and write to it for 20 minutes.)

Clarity is essential for writers and writing, and if you don't have it, I suggest you work on getting it.  You'll get a lot more writing done.  And you can quit making yourself feel bad about the weeds.

Do you have clarity about your writing?  If you reach a murky point, how do you get clear again?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

**Need clarity about your novel?  My new Get Your Novel Written Now class starts August 14th, and I'd love to have you join in.  You can read more about it here.

Photo by unit25.

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14 Responses to Clarity for Writers

  1. Amanda 07/13/2012 at 09:44 #

    This was so exactly what I needed to read this morning. I woke up feeling bad that I haven’t done more to get myself some steady freelance income. To be honest, I haven’t done anything for a quite a while. My life happened (as it often does): I took a promotion at work, going from 3 days a week to 5, which in turn caused me to lose both writing time and family time. The family time is a nonnegotiable, as I’m sure you agree, and my writing time has been focused on my novel instead of growing a business. I’m happy, most of the time. I love working on the book. The business side of freelancing is, for me anyway, kind of draining. Like your garden, I’m not saying I’m never going to try the freelancing thing again, but I definately needed to hear (read) this and tell myself that it’s okay that it’s not happening right now. (btw, I let my gardens go to seed this year too).

    Thanks Charlotte!

  2. Charlotte Dixon 07/13/2012 at 12:04 #

    Definitely agree with you that family is non-negotiable–I'll always make time for mine, even if it means staying up late to work!  I'm so glad you're letting go–at least for now–of the pressure on yourself to freelance, and pleased you're spending time on your novel, because I love it!  Congrats on the promotion–and here's to letting gardens go wild!

  3. Zan Marie 07/13/2012 at 12:41 #

    My clarity for writing is good. I know I’m supposed to write. Thank goodness, I’ve got a bit of clarity about my writing as well. I work at a steady pace and won’t win a race, but that’s how I have to work. Knowing that is a load off my nerves. ; )

  4. Charlotte Dixon 07/13/2012 at 14:24 #

    So glad, Zan Marie.  And you know the old cliche: slow and steady wins the race.

  5. Fear of Writing 07/14/2012 at 10:27 #

    Excellent post and very apropos to me right now.

    I do usually know exactly what I want to work on. Even if this is a list of blog posts or articles longer than I can fit into the allotted time, I’m very good at prioritizing and getting on with it. I finish what I can from the list and then I have more to get on with next time.

    Right now I’m wending my way through a decision about where to take a certain aspect of my writing career. It started off seeming like just one decision, but now it’s been presenting me with layers. If it wasn’t for journaling – and for techniques such as making a list of advantages and disadvantages – I would probably be clear as mud by now. :~) Clarity is a must for me. I can’t stand to waffle along not knowing where I’m going or not having a plan to get there.

  6. Charlotte Dixon 07/14/2012 at 11:00 #

    I've been taking the same approach to my to-do list–one thing at a time.  Sounds like you have a ton going on and lots of decisions to make about exciting new directions!  I do understand, too, how what seems like one small item can suddenly become a whole bunch of steps.  It's crazy!

  7. Fear of Writing 07/14/2012 at 11:10 #

    Yes, and I have to sort my own obsessions from the logic of what’s truly best for me and then choose among the options. I’m sure this was easier pre-Internet. . . .

  8. Charlotte Dixon 07/14/2012 at 11:44 #

    LOL!  While the internet has made a lot of things (like research) easier,  it has made time management a huge chore.

  9. John Ross Barnes 07/14/2012 at 12:31 #

    Ah clarity, that is a tough one for me sometimes.

    I’m clear about the I need to write part. How to, what to, etc. not so much.

    “Onward Through the Fog” is part of the name of my blog for a good reason.

    And I’m a Pantser(Awe,damn…) I rarely know where a piece is going till somewhere at least half way through. I just know there’s this and this and they go together and have to do with that(which may be as vague as a feeling or “taste on my brain” as I experience it.

    Still, I’m at least clear enough to see that Clarity(it gets a capital even) is important, something to strive for, and I do. It’s just a constant endevour in my case.

    Thanks for this timely reminder, Charlotte.

  10. Charlotte Dixon 07/14/2012 at 15:08 #

    Thanks for dropping by, John.  I admit to being partially a Pantser.  I write up a loose outline and then let it flow.  I absolutely cannon have every single bit of my writing planned out ahead of time–I get bored.  So often for me clarity comes in the actual writing.  Love the name of your blog–its very appropriate for writing!

  11. Connie B. Dowell 07/16/2012 at 05:26 #

    True, when you are a creative person, it can be tempting to try every creative outlet, but there’s only so much time in the day. It’s better to pick one or two big goals and focus on those.

  12. Charlotte Dixon 07/16/2012 at 07:22 #

    Very true.  And so many of us creative types fall victim to bright shiny object syndrome–oh look, I like that!  No, that!  I know I do….

  13. Heather Jenkins 07/16/2012 at 13:09 #

    I have moments of clarity when the Windex has worked its magic, but something usually comes along to smear it.

    Some things that help me maintain clarity:
    1. Make a list of what is fogging the glass, so to speak
    2. Read through the last bits of writing I penned to get me back in the moment
    3. Quiet my surroundings
    4. Pray for clarity and the strength of focus

    These things work for me and might not work for others. It’s like your neighbor’s garden. We can’t worry about doing it wrong. We just have to reach clarity the best way we can and hope we can tap into the vein of gold during those precious, few moments.

  14. Charlotte Dixon 07/16/2012 at 14:39 #

    Oh, Heather, I love your comments!  The Windex metaphor is priceless.  And yes, getting quiet always helps!

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