So if you read Slay Belle’s writing post from this past Sunday, she made public the challenge that I made in NaNo and Beyond: in the forty days of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, try to write a 50,000 word or more novel. I’m not as picky as the real NaNoWriMo people are; if there is a novel you have been working on forever and you want to finish it, use this time to do it. The point is that we’ve all committed to producing something and actually trying to finish it.
How did this come about? While mulling over what to give up for Lent and discovering that I really didn’t want to do it this year for reasons which I do not care to discuss, I decided to make a resolution: to write and finish a novel draft in that amount of time. It’s no different than someone vowing to eat better and commit to an exercise routine to try and establish healthful habits that they would maintain even after the Easter holiday. Forty days allows time for research and outlining instead of actually just writing 50,000 words, right?
Well, I thought so.
Then along came the familiar, yet dreaded, obstacle known as writer’s block.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been doing something and an idea pops into my head, and then I write it down to work on later. Then when it comes to the actual execution of the idea, my mind goes blank as I sit there just staring at my open document. Then I try to find something to inspire me, like a song or a painting, or historical people whom I want to include in my novel. I have wasted much time picking my way through the Wikipedia tunnel when I could have been productive and gotten further in my novel. And then there is always Facebook, or whatever is going on at PMag, or TV, or housework that I suddenly have an urgent desire to do. The list goes on and on, and I have to virtually fight with my inner procrastinator. And then there is my adorable cat Gemma, who likes to climb right in my lap and curl up against my laptop while I am writing. She is one of the biggest saboteurs!
So how do I deal with all of the distractions? Well, first I kick the cat out of my lap. Then I keep the TV off on the nights that I don’t want TV. As for housework? I make a list of what I intend to do that day and stick to it. Some things can wait a day. And then I just sit down and try to write, even if it’s a small scene, or a character sketch, or major plot point, or simply more outlining. It’s just another commitment: you have to set aside the time to do it, and when you do have that time, you just need to do it, even if you think it’s crap later.
So how do you deal with writer’s block? Do you have any special things that you do, or are there certain things that distract you? Don’t be shy! Share with the rest of us Persephoneers!