A couple of writer friends spoke with me about their struggle to write. One doesn’t crank out pages like she used to, with busier-than-ever circumstances that pushed writing into the background. The other has been distracted, maybe even disconnected to her story. Each time they sit down to write, they have to reread to figure out where they left off, remember what was to come next, and get into the mood of the scene to seamlessly flow back into the story. A difficult task that wastes precious time, makes the writer feel almost like a beginner again, and who knows if the muse will show up? Where’s the fun in that?
1. Passion. Work out your plot or character ideas to the point that you love what’s going on in your story. Fix or delete whatever you don’t like. Believe in it; find passion for it and the work turns into fun.
2. Time. Think about what time can do for you instead of against you. Prioritize and cut out the unnecessary. Short but regular frequency increases your ‘jump right back in’ abilities more than farther-spaced chunks of time. Be flexible. Remember that other things sometimes must come before writing and deal with it. Set aside a time slot and stick to it unless an interruption must take priority. Don’t get frustrated. You can always reschedule your writing time and try again. Recognize that success will probably take much more time than you wanted, but your best work is worth it.
3. Non-time. Use dead non-writing time. Thinking/imagining/planning time when you can’t write can sometimes be dovetailed with other less brain-intensive activities (like when captured in a car, waiting in lines, gardening). Keep a notebook to jot down you’re a-ha moments until you can get to the computer. Watch the people around you to dream up new characters or mannerisms and to get inspired.
4. Support Group. Let others know how important your writing time is. The son who must practice the piano or work his pitching arm so he doesn’t look like a fool can understand that you need some practice time too. Have someone to report to, who asks you how your goals are going or gives constructive, knowledgeable critiques.