Oh No! Anne wrote about my topic yesterday. And worse: her blog is better than mine was going to be - I planned to whine .
We have all the same problems, she and I. We haven't written in months, have several stories going at once and none are a flaming passion or they would be written by now. Family problems, in my case - autism, a down and dirty divorce, (not mine) a sociopath (mine) and, chronic depression. Interesting perhaps but somewhat distracting, not to mention debilitating. Anne and I apparently both have absolutely no interest whatsoever in cooking or eating. She mentioned dismal spring. One more raindrop and all our flowers are going to succomb.
One more raindrop and frankly my dear, I won't give a damn.
Anne provided the answers for most of us to overcome the blocks that hold us back. I read all the links she gave us and picked up approximately 34 tips. Several things jumped out at me. I am going to try now to ask the questions Anne has answered.
Do you need a goal? I have been thinking about this for several months. It seems to me that Husband and I don't have any goals anymore except to golf every day the temperature is above zero, (him) and (for me) to hang out at the cottage and berate myself because I have all sorts of great ideas and no motivation. We need goals to work toward. On the other hand, we achieved our professional goals and retired. I have a wip or five, but at 69, I don't hope to see any published unless I can shake the lassitude, fire up the computer and make darn sure I do it quickly before I end up in a place for the badly bewildered - or worse.
Part of my problem is chronic depression. That keeps me from revving up and accomplishing so much in a day, my sneakers start to smoke. Part is not turning things upside down. I don't see any point to setting a goal to write and have a book published. Why can't I see that as a goal? So what if it is published posthumously? What if it never gets published at all and the descendents pitch it?
Frankly, my dear, I won't be in any position to give a damn.
So, I need a goal. Do you? Some people putt along steadily, without a goal and one day, the book is written and they are just as satisfied as they would be if it was a goal accomplished.
Are you afraid of failure? Or success? You have to think that one over carefully. It is amazing how many people are parked because they are afraid family, friends, neighbours, taxi drivers and grocery clerks - even the goldfish will know they failed. They didn't fail. They finished the project didn't they? They can always bury it in the backyard and never tell a soul that they wrote a book. That works.
Fear of success is another problem altogether because many people don't realize that is what is holding them back. What will happen after 'The Call'? All of us have worried, scurried and been awed by what all it takes to get a publisher to say yes, without considering if the outcome is too scary to face. Will you be embarrassed? Will people expect more of you?
Is it enough to have a goal of being published? Should you also set yourself to feeling accomplishment, pleasure, enjoyment of all the little high points along the way?
Do you ask yourself questions? What would happen if your character did this instead of that? What if your character demonstrated a whole new approach to solving the problems everyone has? Do you consider multiple solutions to your characters' conflicts? Will that kind of think session power you up?
Some people are journal writers who reflect on their work and all the ideas that pop up. For some people, that works. They open their journal and bingo, they see something they wrote that sets them off in a burst of creativity. Some people carry a notebook at all times and jot down notes which may later be the kicker to a great book. If nothing else, it will remind them of all the funny people or situations they have seen and noted. Journal keeping is not for me. As a journalist, there wasn't time to note all these things and reflect on them. Hence, I am not one to keep a journal now. I have scraps of paper noting ideas all over the place and that is as close as I want to be toward contemplation and horror of horrors - 'Organized'! The very word is foreign, and as far as I am concerned, it is also a nasty thing that would keep me from knowing where I'm at and where everything else is at. There is no hope at all that I ever will be 'Organized', so I consider it an unnecessary word - dirty even. Just because I wrote a blog on organization doesn't mean I actually DO it if there is any way to wiggle out of doing it.
There are a couple of 'write-em-down and organize-them methods that I have tried and they worked for me, but not as motivation. I put a big piece of paper on the wall and scribble key points of the plot in some kind of order (not organized mind you). Looking at them and mentally taking them out or rearranging them helps.
Do you draw mind maps? You start with a theme or an idea in the centreand then you write down everything that comes to mind about that central theme and draw lines from each new idea to the central idea. Further ideas about each of the notes you just made are joined to it by lines and so on. For example, the theme is murder and that leads to ideas around that word, such as knife, dark, known, rain. Known may lead to old friend, fear, shock, disbelief. Shock can lead to cold, relative, sudden. You end up with a more or less circular drawing with progressive ideas branching out as far as you want to go. A flow chart allows you to see the ending and eliminate errors before you make them. Would that help you?
Successful writers have all said the same thing. Specify a time period that will be the same each day and darn well sit down and write during that time. I got the impression that using a set time period to write has to become a habit that you don't break unless the house is on fire or you are dead at the time.
Your internal critic has got to go by whatever means it takes to shut him/her up permanently. Shooting same is not a good plan. That critic has been so busy making you feel badly, it hasn't had time to keep up with the latest developments in its field. Therefore, it doesn't know what it is talking about. Who needs a critic like that? Dump him/her.
There are endless ideas to help get a writer get writing. I talked all this over with Husband this afternoon while we neglected the yard work. He said, "Just do it!" I think, now that he knows I haven't accomplished anything in months, his not-all-that-musical voice is going to ring in my ear. "Get at it and just do it" over and over and over and over.
He is very motivational.