Thursday, June 10, 2010
Obstacles for Writers--by Elizabeth S. Craig
• My children. Bless their hearts.
• The weather. This past winter was all about snow and snow days from school.
• Dishwasher and laundry buzzers. “We’re done! Come unload us!”
• Dust. And supper.
• Too much quiet.
• Too much noise.
• Napping pets that just beg you to curl up with them for thirty winks.
• That darned internet!
• Feeling distracted (usually by all those external factors)
• My internal editor (must-be-silenced!)
• Feeling overwhelmed by the scene ahead
So what can a writer do?
• Analyze the problem—it’s probably a different obstacle on different days.
• Are you at home? Try going to a library or coffeehouse or chain restaurant with WiFi
• Or…completely escape the WiFi by going somewhere that doesn’t have it.
• You could disable your own internet connection at home for a while…unplug that modem or router or repeater. (I cheat and plug it back in, so I can’t be trusted. I end up just leaving.)
• Go outside and write if you’re feeling restless. Take a notebook if the glare is too bad on the laptop.
• If you’ve been writing on paper, switch to writing on computer. Switch to paper if you’ve been working on Word. Sometimes just a small change like that can help me regain my focus. (But I can’t write too long on paper or else I have too much catching up to do on the computer.)
• Write quickly. Give yourself a deadline and word count goal and set a timer. Tell yourself for the next 15, 25, or 45 minutes that you’re going to really churn out some words. Silence that internal editor.
• Introduce some accountability into the equation. I’ve made an announcement on my Facebook page before that I was going to write for an hour straight and check back in with my word count for the hour.
• Try the carrot and stick method--promise yourself that once you've written X amount that you'll treat yourself to a bowl of ice cream (or whatever you're craving.) Or tell yourself that you can't check email, etc, until you've completed a certain number of words.
We all face obstacles to reaching our writing goals. If I can figure out what it is that’s tripping me up on a particular day, I have a better chance of nipping the problem in the bud and reaching my word count for the day. How do you keep going when you encounter writing obstacles?
Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin as Riley Adams, the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink (under her own name), and blogs daily at http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010. Delicious and Suspicious releases July 6, 2010.
As the mother of two, Elizabeth writes on the run as she juggles duties as Brownie leader, referees play dates, drives carpools, and is dragged along as a hostage/chaperone on field trips.
Elizabeth Spann Craig (Riley Adams)