I’m the worst. I love writing, I love creating new characters, new situations,, new plots. But I also love interacting with people. Since the advent of social networking, I have spent far less time writing that I have Tweeting and Facebooking, and since when does a noun automatically have the ability to become a verb?
I have three problems which ‘stop’ me writing productively:
* I get distracted easily
* I get overwhelmed by the tasks I want to complete
* I never seem to find time to write.
I came upon two great blog posts recently. The first was from Clair King, recently signed to Bloomsbury for her first novel, and it talked about puppies. Not nice ones, though. You should read it. it’s damned fine .: Claire King’s Blog :. She talks about “puppies”, interrupting your thought processes and work. This is one of the key points:
So the idea is to train the puppies. When you notice a thought popping up which is not the ‘in and out’ of breathing, you do not pick it up and cuddle it, let it lick your nose. No. You say ‘Hello, puppy. I’m busy right now so sit down. We’ll play later. Sit. No, sit. Sit!’ And you go back to thinking about your breath.
So that’s stage one. Understanding what the problem is.
When I got a new laptop, I was pleased that I could use the new whizzy one for all of my internet stuff (30-odd tabs open in my browser at all times – nuts or what?), and the older one could be used for writing! Brilliant! And to encourage myself, I’d turn off the WiFi on the old one, so when I was officially “writing”, I couldn’t meander around the internet. FAIL! What do I do? I have my writing laptop open, new work in progress, little edit window for things I need to check up on later – and my other laptop open behind, showing Facebook and with Tweetdeck running in the background. D’oh! Not good.
So now we come to me being overwhelmed by the number of tasks. I have several projects in my head right now, and several more projects that I would love to work on, if only I could spare the time.
And then I read another great blog post from Dean Wesley Smith .: Dean’s Blog :. One of the key things I picked out of that post, though:
So if a person spent 15 minutes per day and wrote 250 words, that person would finish a novel in one year.
Now, if that person spent 1/2 hour per day on writing and created 500 words per day, they would finish 2 novels per year and be considered prolific by many people.
Write 1,000 words per day, or about an hour, and in 270 days you would have finished three novels. And that means you would only have to do that five days a week to write three novels per year. In other words, it doesn’t take many hours to be considered prolific.
Wow! What? This really struck home with me. I can type pretty fast – my NaNoWriMo stuff gets typed at around 1,000 words an hour, so I’m right on the money, according to Dean.
And here we come to the third problem. I can’t find time to write.
Why not? Well, by the time I set myself up, get all my notes together, make a cup of tea – well, there’s just not enough time to write anything meaningful.
I’m trying to find at least two hours free so I can write properly, but that’s never going to happen. For one, I have a very busy life. And for another, I get distracted at the drop of an email notification. So what to do?
The answer is in three parts:
* I’m to put all distractions to one side. They’re not important. Well, probably not. Don’t be checking social networking and email and RSS feeds and book sales every ten minutes.
* I must stop putting self-imposed timescales on everything. Write when I have the time, and don’t get overwhelmed by trying to finish something too soon. The book buyers will be there tomorrow, and they’ll be there for years after if I write well.
* I need to get used to writing in small doses. Accept that I’m unlikely to get two hours without any interruptions, and write for half an hour.
I think this will work. If I only concentrate on one project at a time (I know, obvious, but I get enthusiastic), I won’t get overwhelmed, and the books will come out when they come out, when they’re finished and when I’m happy with the writing.
And now I’ve finished this blog post, I’m just going to make a cup of tea, feed the dog, check … well, at least I’ve written for half an hour without stopping.