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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Please, Take A Seat!

The state of my writing: Character building for current WIP. Synopsis for completed MS.

The state of my reading: Still with The Shipping News. Unfortunately, have had A LOT on my plate. Not much time to read the past few days.

"The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair." - Mary Heaton Vorse

Yeah, yeah...I know. It's that whole darn procrastination thingy. We all do it. If you say you don't, well...I don't believe you. Sorry. It's a fact of life.

I think writers are the ones who have the most difficulty with it though. I think it's because there are so many things vying for our time. And, if you're like me, and write from home, with kids, pets, spouses (well, one anyway), housework, other vocational responsibilities, yada, yada, yada, I know that you have had to face focus issues as well.

Well then, how do we beat this attack on our creativity? Here's a few ideas:

1. Take control! Make a plan, man! If we outline our work, we'll know where we're going. Now, I don't mean planning out every single detail (we need to allow our characters to take us on a ride from time to time). But, knowing the skeletal system, if you will. You know, "the bones" of the story from beginning to end. Then later, it will be easier to come back and put flesh on the whole thing. (Even if your ending or certain scenes change, at least you had a plan to serve as a catalyst to keep you going.)

2. Remember your inspiration for telling this particular story in the first place. Revive your enthusiasm for it. If you're bored with it, everyone will most likely be as well.

3. Make a sign for your door. Are you laughing at me? I hear someone laughing. I'm not kidding! It least half of the time. When I have a sign on my door, it cuts my interruptions down considerably. It also shows my family just how serious about this "writing thing" I really am. In time, when your family sees you wandering around the house aimlessly when they though you were in "lock down," they'll begin to ask you why you're not in your room or at your desk writing. Or, they'll ask how far you have gotten on that scene you were working on. It's amazing!

Side note: Our family and friends take their cues from us. Over time, what we are serious about, they will become serious about. If we treat our writing as something optional, they will treat it as optional as well. People mirror our attitudes towards our commitments to "self." If we really mean business, they will eventually get it. Actions do speak much louder than words.

4. Set a "word per day" goal, and keep it! Make sure it's something reasonable for you and your circumstances. Mine is 1,000 when I'm writing fresh (not revising or polishing). But, yours may be as little as 250, or as much as 3,000. I'm just saying that having a goal and meeting it, does something really big inside of us. It boosts our confidence, gives us a feeling of accomplishment, not to mention how quickly we will get through our initial manuscripts when we set a consistent pace for ourselves. Will we use every word that we've written? Heck no! But, we'll sure have a lot of great stuff to work with.

Look, writers write. That's what we do. No more excuses for us if we want to reach our goals. We must write, something, everyday. The more we write, the more we will keep writing. Make sense?

On another note, your thoughts and prayers for my family would be greatly appreciated. My precious Grandmother, Mam-maw to me, was given only a week to live. That was three days ago. I've been grieving my imminent loss and that is why I've not been very inspired to blog about the craft of writing. I've been taken with journaling about her instead. I'll be sure to share with you guys when everything transpires. I will be out of touch for several days when I get "the call," as we have to travel way down south, and will be there about a week or so. I've already been so touched by many of you and your well wishes for me and my family during this time. Love to you.


Shoe Mood:



ReNu said...

Thanks for this. I agree, it's very easy to lose the momentum. I've had 3 WIPs for over a year now. I've set a goal to write at least 500 words a day (based on the outlines) but there are weeks when I don't write a single word.

Bish Denham said...

CJ, My thoughts and prayers are with you. Journaling about your grandmother is a good thing. Write down everything you can remember about her. If she's anything like mine, she will come back and visit you and be a guiding light.

CJ Raymer said...

ReNu - Thanks. I have those horrible moments of nothing as well. Those stupid dry spells (days without writing) that leave you frustrated. They come. But, they go as well. Be encouraged. You have a great goal set for yourself! Just keep writing. XOXO

Bish - Thank you so much, friend. I'm having a difficult time with this. You think that you'll be prepared because they're older and not in the best of health. But, that's not seeming to be the case for me. XOXO

Tabitha said...

Great post, and great advice. We all get hit by the procrastination and interference bug from time to time. It's just a fact of life. :)

So sorry to hear about your grandmother. Sending my thoughts your way...

Christina Farley said...

Great ideas here. I try to think about what I'm going to do on Sunday for each day. It keeps me focused.

And I love your music! Great stuff.

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