Saturday, February 15, 2014

Getting that Novel Out of Your Head

One of my favorite writers, Jenna Blum, had a great blog post I looked at today about writing and getting that book out of your head. A lot of writers definitely do this - we walk around with a book in our head pretty much all the time. It seems it has to get out, but it won't come out, for whatever reason. It can be blamed in part on the distractions of life, but it doesn't go away.

I've started two books that are sitting in a drawer, and although I've written a lot of smaller pieces, I know someday those books will have to be completed - along with the newer one that is constantly running in my mind. I have characters, plots, the ending, the city. But, often when I sit down at my desk to write, I end up checking my e-mail, reading, surfing - having fun, but wasting time and not getting done what's really important to me.

Jenna's advice in her blog post, Motivation Time, is solid. Because we truly do bring our fears to the writing chair every time we sit down. A book is a huge task and can be very daunting. The old advice of sitting down and just doing it - well, that's nothing new, but it's still good to hear again from a successful author. And, I like her additional suggestions of getting the worries out in her post:
"So here’s what I suggest: Make yourself sit in the writing chair, for x amount of minutes a day. Start with an hour (or, if that seems too threatening, 25 minutes). Then maybe change the medium! If you’re used to writing on a laptop, write on paper. If you’re used to writing on paper, write on the laptop. I do find that when I’m writing by hand–my original, beloved way to write, all the way from childhood–there are whole scenes that knit themselves together out of one scrap of a sentence. So again, the work is there. We just have to figure out a way to get out of our own way.
My agent suggested something else: buy a box (she knows I like to shop, so any suggestion with “buy” in it will get my attention) and each day, before you write, write your fears and obstacles about whatever it is you're writing about on slips of paper. Put them in the box. Close the box. Then set yourself a daily word count and hit it."
After all, sitting down in the chair is half the battle. The other half is just getting started and putting words down...and doing it every day that you can. It is a commitment to yourself as a creative artist that needs to be expressed - and, seriously, it's the only way it's ever going to get out of your head.

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