If you’re like me, you still have multiple obligations and writing isn’t your full-time day job. And if you are also like me, you have to carve out writing time. In my day job, I carve out chunks of time in 32 minute increments. I close my door. I put my phone on do-not-disturb. I sign out of my email and I focus on a specific task. In this way, I am more productive and my staff know that when I am available to them, I am giving them my full attention without distraction.
I realized that I also needed a chunk system in my writing life at home. Instead of full 32 minute segments, I set the timer for 10 minutes at a time and stop all distractions and focus on the scene at hand or the specific research that I need, but only for the 10 minutes. Then if I want to play Candy Crush or chat or watch television, I don’t feel guilty.
I am also going to post my word count. I think that will keep me focused and accountable. If you are a writer, I’d love to hear ways that have helped you focus. How do you find time to write? What distractions are your biggest foes? Maybe it’s a different location that makes it easier to write. Whatever your process, we all have the same amount of time in a day. And if you aren’t doing things that you enjoy more than the things that frustrate or annoy you, it’s up to you to change something.
Continue viewing the world through words.
I am half-way finished with the novel I’m working on. But I have been struggling with where it’s going. It wasn’t feeling right to me. If you are a writer you might understand what I was going through. It’s that feeling when you are following your outline, your note cards make sense and the plot is still moving in the direction that you want but the characters don’t have the conflict or depth of emotion that you are trying to convey. Something rings false. So for the past few months, I have avoided this particular work-in-progress and did what I do best. Not finish and start something new. Of course I realize this doesn’t help me to grow as a storyteller. So I went back to see what it was that I was avoiding and why I was standing in my own way.
It was one of my characters that was bothering me. As much as I wanted to add an element of time travel it didn’t fit this particular story. And what also wasn’t working was the gender of one of the characters. So I changed one of the female characters to a male and suddenly the conflict made sense.
It’s challenging for me to write in an authentic voice. And sometimes I think I also want to add same sex character relationships because there is such a dearth of positive relationships in books for a wide spectrum of ages to see themselves. But I also realized that I have to write true to me. And that means that sometimes I will write relationships that are heterosexual in nature and not always lesbian.
I think my main concern was a fear of letting people down. I was working under an assumption that people may only want me to be a writer of gay fiction. But that is far from the truth. My truth. I want to tell good stories. I want to tell entertaining stories. And I have to remind myself not to pigeonhole myself into a box, because no one has place a barrier on me other than the self imposed one I created as another form of procrastination.
So I am going to write the book that I will be proud to be my name on. And when I release the stories that I want to tell I hope you enjoy them.
Continue to view the world through words.
Well, it’s time for me to get back to the novel. I enjoyed writing the flash fiction pieces and I hope you do too but I can’t let that sidetrack me any longer.
Which is easy to say since I procrastinate. When I had to write to put some food on the table, I didn’t believe in writer’s block. I put out what was required and kept it moving. I understand that some writers experience a block as opposed to just sitting down and writing out the next beat or next scene or next chapter. And the psychological barriers can get stronger the longer you are away from the task at hand.
But mine is different, I don’t need to feed my family anymore with the words I produce. That doesn’t make it easier it just means I find myself more distracted with games and movies and television. Yet the truth (and I told Lynn this the other day) is that every time I finally finish a piece of writing I feel satisfied in my heart, happy that I completed a goal I set for myself.
I am continuing to strive to be the best storyteller I can be, because I would be a fool to declare I’m done learning, and it’s a wonderful feeling for me each and every time I write “the end” that I know how much I enjoy writing.
So I’m sorry if you like what I write and then have to wait a long time between published pieces. I am working on staying focused. I hear Prozac is good for that. Seriously I realize I need to finish the next one before I get distracted by a story idea that I find equally exciting. Even now I’m juggling 3 different stories and just need to finish one.
I hope you don’t let your distractions stop you from completing the goals you have set for yourself. I recently discovered a program called Rescue Time and when you see your productivity or lack thereof it’s definitely enough to get me back on track.
As always, continue to view the world through words.
If you are ready the rest of the stories are located at Amazon Beds, Bees and Babies.
I hope you like them. I discovered a theme after I wrote them and another reader thought the first story was unsettling. Thematically they all have death or life connecting them. That wasn’t intentional since I think of death and life as a rebirth or a chance to change what isn’t working in your life. I chance to move into a new direction.
So because I’m going through a change (getting married in December) I guess my subconscious used the stories as a way for me to recognize that the death of the current and a move into a rebirth is where my head is at.
Continue to view the world through words.