What habit might that be, you ask? Is it:
The habit of sitting down to write at the same time in the same location each and every day even though Spring is here and your hands would rather be digging in the dirt than pounding on the keys?
The habit of editing a draft over and over again until reading another sentence of your precious baby threatens to make red ink bleed from your eyes?
The habit of telling yourself to keep going even when all your friends are down at Wormy Pete’s Mexican Dump swimming in margaritas?
The habit of turning off the Internet and the endless writing advice because there’s really only one valuable piece of writing advice in the universe, which is:
Make like a nun and get your writing habit on.
Meaning be nun-like in your approach to writing.
How’s that, you ask?
Like a nun, we must be singly devoted to one purpose: our writing. This is obviously easier said than done what with full-time jobs, families, houses to clean and dogs to walk. With illness and taxes and floods and eighteen dollar a gallon gasoline. And From Not To Hot on the television.
Yet, when I think of how nuns devote themselves to a lifetime of developing and strengthening their personal relationship with God, it reminds me of the intimate commitment required of writers.
And faith. There’s a whole lot of faith involved with writing: in yourself, in your work, in your readers even when you don’t have a one. Faith in things to come even when the “to come” keeps taking long and longer to arrive.
Maintaining that faith day in and day out, year after year can be the difficult part, even as your writing develops and your confidence as a writer grows. Just as the the nature of the world must make maintaining faith difficult for even the most devoted nuns, writers too may suffer a crisis of faith.
Ever changing markets and technology and trends and fads conspire to befuddle and mislead writers down a terrible rabbit hole of doubt and confusion.
In those dark days, when rejection and uncertainty be thy middle name, fear not the unknown and take comfort in the one thing that has sustained you time and time again: the writing.
Then go into that solitary, nunnery of a writer’s space, close the door and open the computer. Bow your head, place your hands on the keys and get your habit on.
IDABEL ALLEN serves up the best in new home-cooked Southern Literature in the tradition of Eudora Welty, Charles Portis, William Faulkner and Flannery O’Conner. First and foremost a storyteller, Idabel‘s books are grounded in the same character-driven reality that holds the reader’s attention long after the story is finished. Idabel attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop Fiction program and is the author of Rooted, Headshots, and. Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign To Save the Chigg.
Idabel loves to connect with readers, so feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Working his lifetime to bury a shameful past and restore the family name, Grover McQuiston rules the town of Moonsock, Tennessee and his family with an iron fist. Or he did, until his eerily skittish tomboy of a granddaughter, Sarah Jane, scandalizes the entire town. Before Grover can force Sarah Jane to marry, blue-haired, strung-out punk Slade Mortimer crash lands in Moonsock in a stolen car, claiming to be Grover’s long-lost grandson and seeking an inheritance. When Slade’s presence resurrects questions regarding his mother’s mysterious disappearance years before, it seems things couldn’t get any worse.
Then Grover’s wife, Eleanor, dies. And in those flat delta fields, Grover learns nothing, absolutely nothing stays buried forever. As the McQuistons prepare for a most unusual funeral, they must account for their past sins: Grover, whose darkest secrets are about to become unearthed. Reclusive Sarah Jane, who hides deep literary talents and deeper scars. And Slade, running from the memory of his dead girlfriend and her vengeful father, seeking the legacy he never knew he possessed—and discovering the family he never knew he needed.
Sweeping from the grime of the 70’s New York City punk scene to the truck-scarred roads of rural Tennessee, this evocative, wry, and beautifully-written novel captures the grit of Southern storytelling at its finest while also launching a fresh, unique new voice.