From being a writer to writing

I’m about to attend a writing course in Oriveden opisto. It is my first get-away writing course and it feels like starting primary school. I have no idea what to expect! Although I want to take someone’s hand and ask him or her to escort me I know I need to do this by myself. Only I know how this will sort out. Thus, it is better that there is no one bothering my concentration.

When hearing I’m attending a writing course, a relative of mine asked me “So, you want to become a writer?”. I was struck by this question and in a short moment went through several thoughts. Of course I want to become a writer! Being a writer is my secret dream of all ages I have dared to think only for some times now. Oh, but do I need a permission to become a writer?

And that’s it. The question of “Do you want to become writer” is also a matter of others’ recognition. My self-confident me would tell you the following. I am a writer. You see, I’ve been working on a BIG book for two years already and aside written a short story or two. Additionally, I have been purposefully writing every day for more than a year, and sometimes even this blog. However, my less confident me insists adding some clarifications. Yeah, the BIG book is a non-fiction PhD research gaining an audience of 3 people (my supervisor, examiner, and mom). And the one single concluded short story is unpublished and quite clumsy. So not much of recognition there.

Great. No matter how much I detest identity work it seems that that’s just what is going on here in relation to being a writer. Silly me, I thought there would be absolutely no space left for such a debate after drastic academic identity drudgery. Yet, I find myself asking: What does it require to be a writer? Who decides that?

Before waiting for my answer, my relative commented that Finland is full of detective story authors. I sighed and smiled. To my relief I was not required to revel my unsure identity. Thus, I just replied that detective stories are not my cup of tea, as I seem to prefer science fiction, at least as a strong side flavour.

Conversational wittiness will not save me from private Analysis Paralysis. Thus, I have decided to just write. It is quite simple actually. You write.

How to manage my writing projects

I feel I have too many writing projects. First, this blog, which I don’t seem to update as much as I would like to. Second, my PhD project, which takes a big block of my daily writing time (as it should). Third, blogging occasionally about timebanking. Finally, my unpublished creative writing in Finnish. Creative writing is something new I have been doing this spring in a creative writing course and it feels great.

In fact, I think the problem is not the number of writing projects but the time available for them. As usual, I seem to have too little time to pursue all my projects. This is not good since I love writing. A though dilemma.

As I am told to be a practical person, I have started to consider how to manage all my writing projects. As a result, I complied a preliminary How-to-manage-my-writing-projects-list in order to manage them all. The ideas come from various sources, for instance academic and creative writing guides. And as I get enough of disciplined lists with my PhD project, the following list is completely incompatible, overlapping, and imperfect.

  1. Write every day. According to many (academic) writing tips, writing daily is the first thing one needs to do in order to get writing done regularly. Quite simple when you think of it. It is a miracle but I can actually do this.
  2. Write the first thing in the morning. It has taken some organising but I’m able to do this. The minute I wake up, I plot down my fist thoughts. Yes, it is sometimes hard and I have to give in and do it after taking care of my child or visiting the bathroom. By the way, hardly any writing guides mention either of these very possible morning interruptions. And still, most mornings I manage to write before I get out of the bed.
  3. Write the last thing in the evening. Now this is more demanding to accomplish. After putting my kid to bed, it is so tempting to enjoy the Happy Hour, namely the hour to oneself after putting kid(s) to bed and before going to sleep. For your information, I created this blog post during my Happy Hour.
  4. Make a list of ongoing (non-PhD) projects and deadlines. I would like to avoid this to the last moment since I need to compile lists at work all the time. Yet, it seems deadlines are good when trying to get things done. Also for writing non-PhD stuff. Thus, my very own great secret of adulthood: the most demanding deadlines are the ones you set yourself (because these issues matter you the most). In my case, they are the deadlines for getting writing done.
  5. Start a Writing Group. I thought of this only some days ago and now I’m very enthusiastic about organising monthly meetings to discuss attendees’ own texts and give & get feedback. I have already some people in mind I want to ask to join the writing group. Exciting!

If you have comments or additions to my list, I’m more than happy to get your tips.