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Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.- Jane Yolen

This is one of my favorite quotes when I’m feeling guilty about not writing on the WIP book, because I get to count email as writing. Not text shorthand filled with symbols or happy face icons, but real email, where I have to stop and think about what I’m going to say. I also get to count blog posts and poetry, two of my avoiding-the-WIP-tactics. And then there’s editing and revisions. Those count, too, because it’s rewriting the writing. And another of my favorites—writing blurbs for all those ideas for WIP to come. There’s something about creating a compact two or three line blurb that definitely oils my writing muscles.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes exercising the writing muscles is as hard as exercising the rest of my body. You’d think since I like to write a thousand times more than I like to do calisthenics that I’d choose writing over everything else. Unfortunately, I can always find something else that cuts to the front of the line, except when deadlines loom. Deadlines definitely motivate me. In every part of my life. Housecleaning is delayed until the company is scheduled to arrive. Laundry waits until one of us is out of underwear. And don’t get me started on cleaning the bathroom. Although since I’ve begun using straight vinegar in a spray bottle, instead of Scrubbing Bubbles, I can clean and shine the tiles before, during, and after I clean myself with no worry of toxic fumes … if I build in a few extra minutes. But that may be TMI. Sorry about that.

So, back to the writing muscles point of the blog … the next time you’re feeling guilty about not working on your WIP, don’t. Write something else instead and let that WIP scene or plot or whatever is keeping you from the story, bubble in the back of your brain. After all, I think that’s using the old writing muscles, too.

Do you have a favorite WIP-avoidance writing habit?