My recent reading has been putting my recent writing to shame. This is completely understandable: I’m writing a first draft, and it’s a normal part of the process to “hate your work but power through” on a first draft. I’m not supposed to be crafting beautiful phrases or pulling creative descriptions out of thin air; I’m supposed to be working on the very basics of plot, character and point of view. Still, it’s hard to read in my genre and not somehow compare the finished book with my current WiP.
The good news is, I’m not simply getting frustrated with my writing or giving up on reading in my genre until I’m on a later draft; I’m learning from the experience. I’m using what I love about the books I’m reading to inform the future of the book I’m writing. One of the things I’m admiring lately is the use of metaphor and simile in literary fiction. I’m so impressed by an apt comparison or a group of artfully-arranged words that gets to the heart of a character or emotion. Metaphor and simile don’t come naturally to me, and I’d like to get better at it.
So I’m creating a new habit for myself. Every day, I’m going to focus on one aspect of one character I’m working on for my WiP, and come up with three ways to describe it using metaphor or simile. Because I don’t have a lot of extra time in my writing schedule, I’m going to use one of my best thinking times: my daily commute. I’m in the car for nearly an hour every day, and I should put that time to use in my writing life (besides listening to Audible books). I can record my three descriptions on my phone, so I can keep it hands-free, and write them down later if they’re good. With a little bit of practice, I think I can strengthen this skill.
Have you ever put a habit in place to change an aspect of your writing life?
I’m also trying to break a habit, though it’s not related to writing. I sometimes find myself interrupting people. I hate it when people interrupt me, and I get embarrassed when I realize I’ve done it to someone else. I want to be attentive to the other person’s words and less selfish in conversation. I’m not sure how to break this habit, though, particularly because I don’t do it all the time. Should I pinch myself? Snap a rubber band on my wrist? Make myself apologize to the person right then?
Any suggestions to help me stop interrupting?