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Making yourself write

… and liking it, by golly.

I’m the last person I thought would be blogging on the writer’s life (whatever that is), but I got such lovely responses last week from my blog about putting back the joy I thought I’d continue in the same vein.

So, today I started making my list of things to do. This is my alleged writing day when I don’t go into the day job. Funnily enough it fills up with all sorts of oddities–purely because I let it, but also it’s unrealistic for me to sit down at my desk and write for eight hours or so straight. I know some people can do it, but even when I was in my writing addiction phase I’d, oh, you know, take bathroom breaks, eat, drink tea.

So the other things on my list today were as follows:

Help local chapter find workshop location. Done.

Reschedule storm door installation. Possibly done.

Don’t drink too much coffee. It’s my latest treat. I may have some decaff later.

Do laundry. Done.

Tame shoes.
Bought online, hurt me although they look incredibly comfortable, can’t return them, but I love the look of them. So I’m wearing a strange assortment of socks and liners.

Rip up carpeting on basement stairs. Postpone. I know it will become a massive job for unforeseen factors–cleaning, pulling up every single tack, discovering that a new paint job is needed, picking the paint color, painting (at least two coats) spending hours on eBay looking for substitute carpeting… oh, sorry, this is about writing, isn’t it?

We are all blessed with a zillion distractions.

I think it’s a question of finding a rhythm that suits you, whether you use a kitchen timer, unplug your internet connection (oops, I have wireless), or use a rewards system. Don’t stress it because you know you’ll get stuck in a morass of agony–oh my god, I’ve been online for an hour following link after link…

Make it a pleasant experience–my office is the warmest room in the house and that’s a definite plus. I have a nice selection of music. I can look out of the window. And most important, I can shut the door.

I limit my online access but I must share with you the following links. This is the funniest complaint about online food, with pictures, that I’ve seen. And talking of the undead, check this out–the latest Jane Austen, uh, tribute (thanks to Smart Bitches for the link). And the Cake Wrecks blog is always a joy.

What are your tricks for keeping writing or doing whatever must be done and which should be, but isn’t always, its own reward? Do you use bribery (if I write X thousand words then I can…) or teeth-gritting or what?

Do share!

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Keira Soleore
13 years ago

No carrots for me. I have three sticks though: Diane, Ammanda, and Anna Campbell. I have to report to them otherwise they’ll scalp me. They’re tired of listening to me yap about my stories, seeing me online, and attending conferences. If I don’t enter a few contests or send out a few things this year, I doubt they’ll let me see 2010. Fear! Excellent motivator.

I use music, too — Regency music and medieval music, depending upon what I’m writing. The most important part? The first song on the playlist has to be memorable and dramatic, so that it sends you right into the mindset.

And a candle. When it’s lit, I’m working. When I’m writing in the library, I have a tin version of that candle that I set out unlit. Now, I’ve bought lotion, body wash, and perfume in that same fragrance so that I’m thinking about the current story all the time.

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

PS: Yesterday was the 195th anniversary of the first publication of P&P. More details, particularly, rarely heard of creative takes on the story on my blog.

janegeorge
13 years ago

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man of good fortune must be in want of a brain. For a snack.

I use a candle too! Brighid (I pronounce it the Scots way, Breed)is a triple fire goddess of the forge, the hearth (and healing) and the inspiration of poets. I dedicate a candle to her and burn it while I work. I just have to remember to extinguish it when I make the school run, etc. Helps!

Since I don’t have publishing deadlines, I use external deadlines. Today I decided to enter a book in the PNWA contest that I only have three chapters on. If it finals, that gives me until July to finish it on the chance an agent or editor is interested. Having that date out there really works for me.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Keira…we are watching you!!!

Great shoes, Janet. Totally worth the sock treatment.

That P&P adaptation is probably not going to grace my bookshelf. I’d never get to sleep!

Writing!!! Oh, I almost forgot. My work habits are improving. Got up early. Didn’t take too many blog breaks!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man of good fortune must be in want of a brain. For a snack.”

LOL Jane!!

And Keira–we’re watching. Don’t you forget it. 🙂

I could never, ever sit and write for 8 hours straight, even if I had no day job, even on my writing-job days. I can write for about 4, max, and then my brain gets tired and the writing isn’t so good. I try to write in the morning (or evening, if it’s day-job day) and then do other writing-related stuff in the afternoon (research, blog-reading, promo, whatever. Or looking at stuff on Ebay. That’s totally research, yes?)

And I love candles while I write, and just the “right” music. Someone once told me yellow helps with creativity, so I like yellow candles (though the one I have right now is pink, Cherry Blossom). Been listening to lots of Irish stuff, since I’m in the midst of my Irish-set book!

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

I am very goal-oriented. I tell myself I can have X if I do Y. I make sure I have my tea, my soft lighting, my reward is sufficient.

And like you, I did the laundry today–no writing yet, maybe not at all.

Good luck with the to-do list and all.

Cara King
13 years ago

but even when I was in my writing addiction phase I’d, oh, you know, take bathroom breaks, eat, drink tea.

Me too. And, oddly enough, the more I drink tea, the more bathroom breaks I have to take! 😉

Okay, sorry.

So, how do I keep writing? Not sure. I’m trying to figure out ways to keep the cats busy so I can stay busy too!

Cara

Todd
13 years ago

While it’s not writing, I find that I have an endless supply of dull but easy tasks that can take up any amount of time, that should probably be devoted to interesting but difficult tasks.

My advisor used to say that he had 20 times as much to do as there was time to do it, while he worked with 5% efficiency, so every day he fell two years behind. I now know how he felt…

Todd-who-fell-another-month-behind-while-typing-this-comment

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