Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘writers block’

Procrastination – the Thief of Time

There is never enough time.  This is a continual grumble of mine.  In an ideal world I would have time to do everything I want to in each passing day.  They say if you want something done then you must ask a busy woman, but even busy women run out of time eventually.

I class myself as fairly disciplined; you have to be when you are self-employed or working from home otherwise it just doesn’t happen.timer

It is so easy to become distracted as you sit at your desk; the phone rings or someone pops in for coffee.  The dishwasher suddenly needs emptying just as you reach that difficult piece of work.  Face the screen, determined to finish that awkward section of production that you need to really concentrate on, firstly you need a clear focused mind so make a cup of coffee; only the third this morning as your favourite tune heralds the morning quiz on the radio.   While here just peel some potatoes in readiness for the meal tonight.

Suddenly it is lunchtime and you have to go for a lunch meeting.  Despite it being work you realise it will be nice to speak to someone having been working alone; well having been alone all morning.  You hang on to the meeting, dragging it on longer than necessary for the company or to put off the moment of finishing that section of work.

The children arrive home almost as you step in the door, time to concentrate on them.  Listen to their days trials and tribulations, find them a snack to keep them going, get the meal on, help with homework I am sure we didn’t learn it like this when I was at school.  Hubby arrives home expecting his meal which you all sit round and discuss your various days. Having cleared the plates and seen them all disappear to watch the TV you realise there is still that item of work that you have managed to avoid all day waiting for you.  Again you will miss all the soaps and the 9pm drama because this just has to be finished and there is no-one now in the office to ask.

Thankfully I am very much more disciplined than this.  I have my office as a physical room which I go into and fall right into work focus.  Unfortunately for my family the dishwasher awaits their return and the meal is a rushed affair after we are all home.    I do go into the office regularly where I probably have more distractions catching up with the others.  At home though I do have the ability to filter out the white noise, the call of the x-box even day time telly holds no allure for me as I concentrate on work.

So if I am this disciplined why can I not find time to write, that is what I claim to want to do?  It is where my passion lies, where I want to be so why?

Maybe that is the problem, I feel guilty taking the time out to pursue my passion when there is so much to do.   I often blame writer’s block; that blankness when faced with a clear piece of paper or screen, but when I am out and about I see stories, scenes and scoops around every corner.  I invent back stories, and make up questions and answers to every person I walk past.  I can even put it to paper (screen) and create a workable draft to a short story or longer.  What I can’t do is re-visit and find the time around the working week and the family to edit.

I have a catalogue of stories all finished in my mind ready to be sent off but they need careful editing and sending.  So is it just editing or is it the fear of rejection.  If I finish this, I must send it and then it may not make the grade.   What if they don’t like it? What if someone critiques my work unfavourably?

Writing is a part of you, your creation, your conception, your invention so when someone disagrees how do you distance yourself from the criticism?  How do you extract the positivity, instead of tossing yet another virtually ready draft onto the every growing trash can of could have beens? How can you build on what you started and use those comments to develop and finalise my work?

I am still editing memories, I still haven’t sent off my story to People’s Friend, I have two or three stories I was going to look at to send to competitions but they are still filed neatly on the computer.

This week is yet another busy week at work, at home and I will be spending some time writing but can I convert some time developing and maybe looking at sending or even at least post  a blog…….



Putting off Procrastination

I have developed a serious case of writer’s block and am not sure how to get over this hopefully interim state of barren creativeness.

Always one to lack the confidence in my own ability to create and share, I think I have got out of my routine where I just wrote rather than thought about the outcomes.

How did it get so bad?

Once upon what seems a lifetime ago; I would wake up full of creativity and spend an hour allowing the pen to scrawl the old fashioned paper, before the rest of the world began to emerge from their slumbers.   A few stolen moments of my time allowing me to pen a few random (and they were random) thoughts nurtured into an entertaining piece of prose.

I then took on the biggest challenge of them all:  NANOWRIMO – to write a novel in a month:  Even when I realised; to achieve this mammoth task I needed to produce 2000 words a day for 30 days, I undaunted, agreed to attempt the challenge.  After all 2000 words were marginally over what I could produce in a morning anyway.

I took the challenge and although technically I failed; in my mind, I succeeded in producing a skeleton of a novel with 60,000 words.   The disputable issue is that it took me just over 2 months to produce; hence in the eyes of the organisers it was not finished.   I on the other hand was pleased with my effort and really believed my story had wings to fly.    I then took the tentative next step to edit and fluff out the bones of my skeletal tale.

Two rewrites later and my story has depth, characterisation, intuition and realism about it.  That of course is my opinion.  What the story lacks is decent punctuation, spelling errors of the most basic kind and the readiness to be sent away.    I know the story well, I know and identify with all the characters and I can spend wasted hours just trawling through adding a colon, correcting their to there and remembering my speech quotation marks.

I loaded it onto the “you write on” web site for other writers to critique the first 7000 words, and surprised myself at the favourable comments that have come back.   A lot of people have given negative feedback on the punctuation and grammar, which are not in the remit to comment on.  However the positive feedback on the storyline, characterisation, pace and  structure, narrative voice, settings and themes has been overwhelming in their encouragement and assurance that this is a story that should be finished and published.

I learnt quickly to review other people’s attempts with some catching my attention so much I can’t wait to read the finished product.  A few, thankfully not many, such dire attempts that I struggled to make it through the 7000 words but I still managed to find some good things to say.  After all, I was learning fast just how callous and soul destroying a negative review could be after the effort put in.

I read somewhere:  a writer needs a blog; an opportunity to allow your work to be read and commented on.  I began a blog; unsure of who was going to read the blog, after all who is going to randomly read someone else’s delusional musings. I link it to a facebook account as a conduit in order to direct some traffic and some comments.  Comments are rare and usually come from my children telling me “that is not what facebook is about”.   I try to write the blog once a week meaning my creative juices at least get a stirring; but it is not the same as the outpouring of weird and wonderful writing that I was producing only this time last year.

Time out during the summer holidays meant I did not get up at the usual time and join the dawn chorus, not only because birds are not as vocal at this time of year but with the pressures of school and work not on, naturally there would be more time in the day to write.  Who exactly was I kidding! Three boys take a lot of looking after even when they reach teenagedom.  Continual raids on my fridge and snack cupboard requires regular trips to a shop.  Gangs of 9 year olds traipsing through my kitchen requiring squash, is interruption enough either to prepare the squash or to clear the mess when they beat me to it. They say girls are fashion conscious and fastidious about their attire; then explain to me why boys require several changes of clothes per day and the bathroom floor is a constant extension of the washing basket.

The autumn term has now reached us with alarming alacrity, the boys are going back to school, Sporty Sexy Dad is already back at work and I return to the school office today.    Although New Year and the resolutions we all make is thankfully still a few months away.  In the school calendar the New Year starts here, so with it comes a resolution:  to return to the halcyon mornings when I wrote for the sake of writing.  I have a list of competition short stories with the dates they need to be sent in.  I do not flatter myself by thinking I stand a chance of actually winning, but if I could only put pen back to paper and create a flow I believe I can overcome this interim stumbling block.

A sense of duty – that will win me a holiday, but what could I write about.   Obligation, undertaking, what you have to do, all good descriptions of the word duty but how can you make them into a story.  The sense of duty I have is to write but about what?

Make ‘em laugh  –  that is a good one I can write about anything but it has to be funny,  telling a joke is too subjective and as my children are at pains to tell me; my humour and theirs is worlds apart, so maybe not this one.

Atrocious first line – this sounds better, they have even given me the first line “And then I woke up to find it was all a dream...”   Ooh gosh, feelings of déjà vu and Bobby Ewing in the shower, not a bad image, but maybe not for this.

There must be something I can write about.

Pen poised, paper at an angle…. no wrong angle, that’s better and………..   oops the troops are emerging, I have to rejoin the real world.

Well maybe tomorrow……….


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