You know, I’ve always admired the coordination and quick reflexes of an accomplished juggler. Whether they keep pins flying or balls spinning or even that one guy who juggles sharp weapons, a good juggler is amazing to watch.
It dawned on me the other day that in our own way, successful writers have become accomplished jugglers in their own right. Oh, we don’t keep bright colored balls circling overhead as we write. However, we do manage to juggle all the demands that interfere with the time we need to spend planted in front of our computers, letting our muse whisper words in our ear. Okay, most of the time, no one is whispering anything except that the laundry needs folding or it’s time to start dinner, and on a lot of days, getting those words down on paper is like pulling teeth.
But most writers I know are amazingly committed people and somehow manage to get it all done—the laundry, the meals, the housework, their other job, if they have one—and yet still make their deadlines, get their copyedits and revisions done on time. Oh, yeah, then there is the promotional stuff and the need to come up with new ideas and the research.
Can you see all those balls flying through the air yet?
And of course, there are all of the components of good writing that we have to keep in mind with every word we choose, each sentence we craft, each paragraph we build, each story we tell. Point of view, internal conflict, story arcs, choosing the right names for our characters (a real time consumer for me!), sensuality, grammar, spelling, back story, world building—the list seems endless.
But here’s the amazing thing: we do it. We pick up the balls and somehow start them all flying. Of course we occasionally drop one, but that’s what revisions are all about. For the most part, we keep those spheres whirling in intricate arcs, using our creative energy to make patterns that have never existed until our fingers touch the keyboard and practice the amazing feat that is good writing!
I know Wednesday is for questions of all kinds, so here’s mine: What tricks have you learned to help keep your juggling skills sharp?