View Full Version : what do you do???

04-27-2009, 07:07 PM
Sitting down to write doesn't come easily to me. I need to force myself to stop procrastinating and just sit down. The ideas flow freely but the translation of those ideas onto paper is the tough part.Not exactly sure why, perhaps it's that by writing I'm committing and I have commitment issues?? What do you do? What works in your world?

04-27-2009, 07:15 PM
I force myself to sit down and write. Honestly, sometimes it's no more than that. Discipline. It's like homework, or going to work each day. Sometimes you don't want to, but you do it anyway - because, like you said, the ideas are flowing and if you don't get them down on paper they will go away.

For some people it helps to have a rough schedule - for example, I do my best writing at night. It's quiet and I can usually write for a few hours without being interrupted, which is nice. :) Once you've been on a schedule for a while, your instinct takes over once it hits 8 or 9 o'clock, and you're immediately ready to write just because you've been doing it for a week/two weeks/whatever.

Hope that helps a little.

04-27-2009, 07:17 PM
Sometimes it helps me to write on paper instead of my computer, and type it up later. The computer can be veryyyy distracting, but I can take a notebook anywhere, and be less distracted.

Try writing sometimes when you're just relaxing. I like to do it while watching TV in the evenings, because I don't always care about what's on. Or right before bed. And sometimes you do have to say to yourself, 'I am GOING to write now.' And just do it.

04-27-2009, 07:26 PM
hmm interesting...

I always write all notes and outline in pencil in a spiral notebook. The actual act of having the pencil in hand focuses me more. I do tend to write more easily this way. But I'm not sure I can write a whole book like that! Does anyone??

04-27-2009, 07:27 PM
Sometimes the ideas just flow onto the paper (well, technically onto the screen, but paper sounds better!) and sometimes I procrastinate and don't get anything done. like now, I'm here and not writing! I'd say set a time aside to write, and just get things down - you can always edit them later. One trick I use if I'm writing or doing homework is to either not use a computer at all, like kaitlin said, because it's very distracting, or turn your Internet off (I turn the wireless connection on my laptop off) to stop you going on the Internet. Also, take a notepad with you when you go anywhere boring - waiting rooms, train/car journeys etc. - if writing's the most interesting thing to do, you'll get down and do it!

04-27-2009, 08:47 PM
What I allow myself to do sometimes is tackle a pivotal future scene I'm excited about. This can also help you know what to write ahead of it, so everything leads that way. Ultimately, you have to write the tough scenes too, of course, but any writing you get down in that rough draft stage moves you towards your goal, and gives you a deeper understanding of where you want your story to go.

04-27-2009, 09:37 PM
Anther pen and paper writer. I tend to go gung ho on my laptop then reach a certain point (Usually about 2/3 way done, I have finishing issues...know how it will end, just making myself do it is like pullin freakin teeth) SO I end up hand writing big chunks on paper and it works for me!

04-27-2009, 09:49 PM
I just write while distracted. I'm sitting at work, doing work occasionally.. texting, talking to co workers, listening to music, and writing.. Its good for my brain to do lots at once =)

But every night i try to get some good writing time with no distractions. Once you get into a scene, you should be able to write it nonstop.

04-27-2009, 09:53 PM
If you're still struggling with this around November, you should really sign up for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org). I had the same problem- I could never get past the first 5000 words without getting sidetracked. By joining NanoWrimo (which lasts Nov. 1-30 each year) you give yourself deadline pressure, which is great for focusing your priorities. At the very least, it'll help you crank out that first draft.

Stijn Hommes
04-28-2009, 01:51 AM
Yes, definitely try the pen and paper approach. The first flash I sold was written and edited mostly during a boring train ride. Somehow my creative juices flowed better...

04-28-2009, 02:45 AM
Have a set amount of words you want to write daily.

Write, even if you hate every word that you've written. After you've reached your word goal, turn off the computer and take a break. Before you go to bed look over what you've written and tweak. Repeat the next day. And yes, one needs to be disciplined.

04-28-2009, 10:06 AM
I had the same problem at first, and I think all the suggestions about having a set time where you MUST write every day is the best way to start. In the beginning you need to make it a habit. Now I write anytime, morning, afternoon, night- but I write every day. I feel weird if I don't.

If I feel sluggish or uninspired, I give myself 30 minutes to look around online for motivational writing articles. AW is great, and I also love http://hollylisle.com/-- she has tons of great free workshops and ideas.

Good luck!

Momento Mori
04-28-2009, 02:21 PM
What do you do? What works in your world?

I've found that the only thing that works for me is to get into the habit of going to a university library after work (the university libraries tend to have later opening hours than public libraries) and sitting there for a couple of hours while I hack through the next bit of my manuscript.

It has to be a university library because they're quiet, don't have internet connection and don't have any books that I'm likely to go and want to read (although if I'm stuck for a character name, I usually browse the nearest stack until I find something that I like). I also go there on the weekends.

You won't finish anything until you sit down and write and the only person who can do that is you. Get yourself into the habit of doing that regularly and set yourself a realistic deadline (taking into account work demands, family demands and other life demands) for completion of the first manuscript and then keep hacking away at it until you reach it.

Have a set amount of words you want to write daily.

I know a lot of people who swear by that but it's never worked for me. In fact, I found that it placed me under too much stress so I worried more about the number of words than the quality - but that's purely tied into the way I write (which involves a lot of self-editing). It certainly seems to work for other people.


04-28-2009, 03:38 PM
You know, the funny thing about writing is that it can quickly go from a joyful hobby to a dreaded chore. Most writers have other jobs too, and we don't let things (internet, laundry, other distractions) stop us from showing up to work. (Well, we shouldn't, anyway. :))

For me, I remind myself that the only person pressuring me to do this is...me. I'm not published, I've got no deadlines, but somehow remembering that when (insert positive thoughts here) I am published it will be because of my own self-motivation, well, that helps motivate me. If that makes any sense. And usually once I start writing, the "blah" feelings disappear and I have a blast with it.

04-28-2009, 03:43 PM
MM - I tried that too! Giving myself a certain word count goal. All it did was freak me out and I couldn't write a single word. Now I give myself some slack and write in bursts.

I'm a mom to two young boys,a wife, work a F/T day job and have a house/yard to take care of, so I find that when I do have time to sit and write, I've been planning it in my head and I just go to town in between, "Mom, he's hitting me" and "Can you get me a drink" Whatever I get done is a plus! (I have deadlines and my agent is waiting for the next book I owe him, but if I think about it too much I'll freak out, so I pretend its all under control :D)

04-29-2009, 03:36 AM
I love the idea of a university library and I've used this in the past. Currently we live in Panama and the libraries aren't so accessible here. I'm currently writing my book in the research library of the Panama Canal Authority! I think there should be a little notation in the back of each book ever published as to where the actual writing took place.

At the kitchen table.
My basement.
Panama Canal.
In my kids treefort.You get the picture. Thanks for all the great suggestions, today I managed to overcome the block and really get into the meat of the story.

Fuchsia Flower
04-30-2009, 10:51 PM
I always have word open. If I'm on the internet I'll flick back and forth between here and word and eventually I'll find myself hooked into the story and not going back to procrastinate.
If I have a rare day with no other plans I'll set myself a nice big word count target.
If I've got a lot done in a small amount of time I'll give myself a day off. I'm always happier to go back after a small break.
So I guess I have no proper routine, but my way works for me :)

04-30-2009, 11:08 PM
I am really random. Sometimes I'm just sitting around and it's like "I have to open a word doc and write now" and other times I force myself. In both scenarios, I can either produce something I like, or something that's crap, or, more rarely, something that flows beautifully and that makes me remember why I do this in the first place.

Nothing guarantees good results for me. Or even any results at all.

04-30-2009, 11:16 PM
hmm interesting...

I always write all notes and outline in pencil in a spiral notebook. The actual act of having the pencil in hand focuses me more. I do tend to write more easily this way. But I'm not sure I can write a whole book like that! Does anyone??

I write everything long hand and type it over later. I add a lot and do a lot of editing while transcribing but yeah I basically have 18,000 words in notebooks. The down side is I once lost one and freaked out about having to rewrite it.

05-01-2009, 05:42 PM
Find a place you feel comfortable sitting in for a few hours. Even if its in the local Starbucks. Then just order a coffee and write.

05-01-2009, 06:11 PM
I wrote most of my first novel by pen and paper. My computer at home wasn't up because we were rearranging rooms, painting, etc., so I would write in the afternoon when I got home from work, and then take my writing into work the next morning and type it all up. Basically, the whole book was written on college-ruled paper. But the computer is up now!

I'm now on the second novel and I write in spurts. Like, I wrote a rough draft outline and started every chapter (even if it was a single sentence). I'm really random. I can't sit down and say, "Chapter One... Here we go!" It's not me. My thoughts are sporadic and I have to write what I see as I see them. If I'm not at home when that happens, I try to find a piece of paper (and always carry a pen) and write down the gist.

05-01-2009, 06:34 PM
Apparently, I read this thread and close the window, opening up WordPerfect again. Drat. 'Bye.

05-01-2009, 07:28 PM
I do certain things that signal 'writing time' for me. In my case, I light a candle that I keep next to my computer novel. The candle is only lit for writing, not surfing. It signals my brain that I need to work, not fool around/research/come here, lol...

Find something that you can associate only with writing, and start incorporating it into your routine. :)

05-01-2009, 07:33 PM
In my case, I light a candle...

And I thought I was the only one who did that! :)