I’m distracted. I’m distracted by everything. The sky is blue, but look over there, it’s all grayed out because of that cloud formation. Squirrel. Facebook has a great article on the life cycle of deep water jelly fish. Maybe I should check on the vegetable schedule at the you-pick-it farm. Laundry is piling up and what am I cooking for dinner? Wait, I want to finish that audio book I’m listening to.
You get the picture. Anything and everything keeps me away from writing. It needs to stop. I have had productive episodes where I get a lot of writing done. During those times I write every day. Now I can’t even seem to keep up with my blog posts let alone anything else.
How do I solve this dilemma? How do other writers solve this problem?
There are countless sources out there that encourage writers to keep writing. I pulled up more than a million links on a search request. Even reading those inspirational passages is a distraction because I’m reading them, not writing. Reading is important. I must read in order to understand what good writing is, but it means I’m not writing.
I tell myself to put the book down and apply fingers to the keyboard. Okay. That worked. My fingers are typing this blog post. That’s writing and it counts. What else can motivate me?
Deadlines. I took a number of writing classes for several reasons. One was to learn how to write and another was for the deadlines. Assignments are good. They make me apply myself to the task. I also have deadlines when I write for Big Blend Magazine. I find I need the deadlines because it forces me to do the work.
I’ve heard some writers who say they can only write when that illusive mistress, Inspiration, strikes. I think a writers needs to prod inspiration. Some days it may take a cattle prod on full charge to get the inspiration going, but depending on inspiration alone may mean weeks of blank pages.
Some of the greatest authors say their secret to writing is to set a specific time aside every day and write for a predetermined length of time. I know one person that writes for two hours every morning most days. Another author writes when he hikes. He dictates into a voice recorder and gets his exercise at the same time. One person mentioned posting their writing goals on Twitter. That way, the writer’s followers keep her accountable to her writing goals. I find my most productive time is in the evening when the house quiets down. I have no responsibilities and feel free to spend the time doing what I want. Unfortunately, this is also the time when I can be the most brain dead. After a particular difficult day at work, I’m so out of focus I can’t bring myself to open a document, let alone type words. I’m afraid that excuse is just too handy and I’ve been using it too much. Writing anything is better than writing nothing.
Along with write anything would be write everything. A wise and respected author I know lives by the practice of having more than one project going at a time. So if I don’t want to work on the novel right now, then I can work on the next article for Big Blend, or this blog post. I also have the continuing story previously posted on my web site that needs another chapter. Right there are four things I could work on. I also have a new short story that needs some tweaking. I think my inspiration is coming back to me.
So maybe it’s true. If you start writing something then the momentum continues. In fact, I’m close to my word limit on this piece and I’ve already started the next chapter of Fortuna. I can’t forget I have another article due for Big Blend and my novel’s protagonist has been talking to me lately. I think I’m going to visit her.
What gets you writing, or painting, or doing those things you tend to procrastinate about? Someday there will be a pill for that.