Several members of our community wrote in and suggested that we have an occasional post where we simply talk about writing. New or less-experienced writers often have a lot of questions about crafting stories or editing or publishing and can benefit from hearing from more-experienced writers and their efforts in those areas. Similarly, experienced writers can get stuck in a rut where writing is more of a chore than a joy and they can benefit from new ideas, tools, methods and energy from other writers.
So, let’s take today to just talk about writing. Do you have trouble with some aspect of writing? Do you struggle with a particular tool you use when writing? Are you lacking a tool for some aspect of it? Do you have a particular tool or writing process you’ve found to be a tremendous benefit to your writing efforts?
We have a vast community of writers with many levels of expertise and experience, and each of us has something to offer and something to learn. So, grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever your beverage of choice is and let’s share some ideas, questions and answers here in the comments.
My biggest problem is distraction. Let’s face it, most of the time I can blame my small children, but through a combination of good genes and sheer bloody-minded stubborn parenting, they are all in bed asleep by 7.45pm and they usually stay there (at least until after midnight, when I’m already in bed anyway). So in the evenings, I have a good two or three hours when I can write.
But do I? Most often, I’m distracted by the internet, by a magazine next to me, even by other writing that I’m not supposed to be working on! Case in point: I have a deadline one week and one day from now, and I need to do so much to get my manuscript ready. However, here I am online, writing about how easily I’m distracted. Heh.
I do usually turn off the wifi on the laptop so I’m not tempted to go online, and I try to set myself achievable goals, but I just find it so hard to really focus. Obviously it doesn’t help that I’m writing at the tail end of the day when I’m tired, but still. Any hints to motivate and stop distractions? I’m all ears!
I struggle so much with editing. I have a full manuscript sitting on my desk and I can’t bring myself to edit it. I know what’s wrong with it, but the idea of writing it over again is so burdensome I can’t bring myself to do it! Is there a trick anyone can share?
Sam, walk away from that manuscript – for a while. Let it sit unopened on your computer, and start writing something else. Set a specific date -maybe two months hence – and then return to the completed work. Now your work will be fresh, your words will surprise you, and the errors will glare. This tactic is often suggested by other writers and usually proves effective. Let me know if this helps.
I think my biggest struggle is establishing a balance between confidence and consistency. I have set an unspoken goal for myself (until now, I guess) to publish something to my blog once a week. I don’t want it to be frivolous. I want it to be “worthy”, if you will. I find myself, on occasions, pressing for material that I feel is acceptable of a story or post. I guess you could say that this is another form of writer’s block, with a twist.
As far as the comments left so far:
– Everyone has a mode of operation that works best for them. Some like to write amid the crowd in a coffee shop while others need the solitude of a private space. I am much closer to needing the private and quiet space to succeed. It’s cliché but try different times, different spaces, different music to see whether on aspect helps you to naturally eliminate the need to focus on distractions.
I feel your pain. I have never wrote an entire book, only several short stories. The best thing I can do is to focus on small pieces at a time. Reward yourself for small editing accomplishments before you move on to the next part or phase. And sometimes, it is best to leave something sit on the shelf for awhile (for me at least) and let the characters, the plot, and the setting develop inside to see if and what really needs to be changed. Maybe your resistance to edit is your subconscious fighting the changes. Good luck!
I also feel your pain when it comes to confidence and consistency, I’m home daily as I don’t work due to a injury that left me disabled so I have plenty of time to write I have to set small goals for my self,and I do alot of research on the internet so there is always something going on thru out the day but I try to work at least 6 to 8 hrs to keep my day filled up !
thanks for sharing everyone.. I had thought that after ‘being’ a writer for a while, that all my insecurities and struggles with distractions would abate.. hmmm nope.. ohhh kitty! At least I guess, I’m not alone.
I’ve found that even having all this time on my hands to write and setting small goals for the day I still find it hard to get myself started I’ve been recovering from back surgery but i can still write does that make any sense I have the whole day to be creative and yet someday I just can’t seem to find that grove !!
Distractions, confidence, yep all are issues for me also. Particularly distractions, if I could earn enough from writing to be a full-time author I’m sure I’d write more without the interruptions of conventional employment!
Thinking back, my most productive times have been when I have really been enjoying the story – so much that writing is more fun than reading. Sounds vain – obviously there are many, many better writers out there than me. But when I’m not in the middle of a great read, then writing my own is really fun as I don’t know where the characters are going to take me and as I’ve filtered out the things that irritate me in some other books. Pretty subjective, I don’t know if I could write in a genre or story type that I wouldn’t enjoy reading….