Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Fight Spring Fever & Get Some Writing Done--by Elizabeth S. Craig

I’m not sure if it’s warm where y’all are, but as I write this, it’s 82 degrees and breezy. Spring has sprung! (Well, at least it’s sprung temporarily—I don’t trust it enough to plant any tender flowers.)

I tend to spend even more time than usual looking out the window when it’s spring. We have several bird feeders in the backyard, and the birds are fun to watch—the cats love watching the birds at the feeders, too. We call it Kitty TV.

I think, actually, that I might have a touch of spring fever. It’s been a little harder for me lately to focus on my manuscript and my next outline. I’ve had to come up with some strategies to stay on track for my June 1 deadline.

Here are some ideas for curing spring fever…or at least working through it:

Unplug and write on paper, outside. I do take my laptop outside sometimes, but the glare of the computer screen makes it tough to read. Instead, I’ve been grabbing some paper and pencils and tried writing out in the hammock. (I don’t let myself get too far ahead without going back in and transcribing.)

Set a timer and get the writing knocked out in one big block of time—and have your outdoor time as a reward. If I’m trying this approach, it’s better if I close all the windows on my computer except for my Word program.

Need to exercise? Try writing in your head while taking a walk. It helps me when I get fidgety and sometimes I write better when I’m moving around. If I get a really great idea and I’m afraid I'll forget it, I use a voice recorder to record the idea (I’m nerdy like that.) Digital voice recorders are cheap these days, or you could download one to your smart phone for free. This way you’re doing something that’s good for you, writing, and enjoying being outside.

Don’t fight it. Another choice is just to give in to your spring fever. Change the setting in your book to spring and go outside and play—for research.

Is it spring where you are? How are you staying on track with your writing goals?

Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), and the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010. Elizabeth Spann Craig (Riley Adams)
Twitter: @elizabethscraig


Mason Canyon said...

I love the warm days we're having, even though I know we'll have a bit of cold again. I enjoy going outdoors with a good book to read or paper and pen to write my review of that book. Getting out and enjoying the fresh air seems to unclog the cobwebs of my brain. :)

Thoughts in Progress

Mallory Snow said...

It rained here yesterday! And today has been freezing! I've had the heater on almost all day! Good thing I don't garden. ;) Writing outside in the warm weather sounds like a dream, though, so as soon as it heats up again, I'm grabbing my notebook. Enjoy a little bit of that sun for me!

Margot Kinberg said...

Elizabeth - I'm very glad you're feeling a touch of spring - such a hopeful time of year. But you're right, it's hard to keep focused sometimes. I do the same thing you do, actually - compose while I walk. My doggies appreciate it, too :-). And I've found that a voice recorder can be helpful, too, if the urge to go outside is irresistible.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Mason--I'm too scared to plant my impatiens yet. But I keep thinking about it!

Mallory--Will do! Hope you get some spring really soon. :)

Margot--We can accomplish even *more* things at once, if we take a furry friend along with us on our walk! Good point. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some good tips. I can write on the treadmill, but not while jogging. Hard to read afterwards.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Alex--You're good to jog! I would have to have something very scary behind me to jog. And maybe even then I wouldn't. :)

Helen Ginger said...

It is Spring here, Elizabeth. In fact, I think it's supposed to get to 90 today. I like your ideas, especially the recorder app for your smart phone. I'm going to look for that! Going outside is a better idea than what I usually do - close the shades.

Mary Vaughn said...

I'd be thrilled to give in to Spring Fever if only spring would give in and stay put!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Helen--Closing the shades works, too--but isn't nearly as much fun!

Mary--And the mornings are so cold, sometimes! Half the time I don't dress my children right for school.

Anonymous said...

The only time I write with a pencil is to jot down a thought so I don't forget it. That's about all. I do like the timer advice. Block out distratcions and write for 20 minutes. Don't stop until you hear the ding.

The Old Silly said...

Good advice - I especially love the "Don't Fight It!" one, lol. :-)

I take my laptop outside, though - just find a shady spot, a favorite wifi cafe I go to has umbrella-covered patio tables ... nice java, balmy spring breeze, sounds of nature fluffing my aura, mmmm ... amuses MY muse, baby!

Marvin D Wilson

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Stephen--It's amazing how that one timer can get so much work out of me.

Old Silly--Your wi-fi cafe with the coffee sounds like a great plan to me!