Thursday, February 12, 2009

Confessions of a Troubled Writer

I am going to make a confession. I have trouble with writing sometimes. I know this is shocking to some people, and others who never have blocks or slowdowns will tell me it is going to be okay. I appreciate it. The thing is, I already figured this out. I have posted before on how to motivate the muse and even on ways to jumpstart it, but today I thought I would try anew for those who still have this trouble.

Problems creep in

So, what makes writing so hard? Why can’t we just make ourselves sit down and do it?

One reason, it is difficult. Some people start off with a great deal of enthusiasm for writing and have a great story idea. The problem is that the story is not one that will go for a whole long novel. Maybe they need to consider writing a short story!

Another reason- it has too many characters. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. It has so many people in it that the writer has to keep a list. When dialogue has to be done it becomes either too stilted or too similar and either way, it is not good.

Finally, some people just haven’t gotten the ideas down clearly yet. No goal, motivation or conflict apparent anywhere. My suggestion is to go back and redo it all. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you want honesty, right?

The Way

So what do you do to fix this situation? My rule: KISS- keep it simple stupid. And here are a few methods:

Make a goal.

Write only as much as you feel you can at any sitting. Do not tax this because if you burn out, you will be out of that writing chair for a long time. Make a goal and only do your goal amount. You can lengthen it on another day if you feel inspired.

Write daily.

You have to do this thing that we do EVERY day. Sit down flex your fingers and write. It doesn’t have to be the next bestseller. It does have to be something you can read back and think about.

Report to others

Get some of your friends and family involved. Tell them to call you up every day and ask you if you have written that day. Make them accountable for your activity and believe me, you will do what you must. Who wants to have to explain WHY they didn’t write?

Reward yourself.

Hey, it works for diets, right? Go out and buy yourself something you really want to give yourself a pat on the back for being devoted to your craft. Then email me, and let me know what you have done. I will be your personal cheerleader!


s.w. vaughn said...

Kim, this post makes some excellent points, and it's great advice!

You're not alone, either. I have trouble writing sometimes, and there always seems to be a different reason.

But you know what? I think that if it's always easy for you to write, you're doing something wrong. If the words just flow every time you sit down to write, you're not pushing yourself to improve, and you're not developing as a writer.

So there is something to be said for struggling. :-)

Kathryn Magendie said...

great post!

Kim Smith said...

Hey ladies! Thank you very much. I think you are right, SW, because when I finally come off of a hiatus, I have a LOT to say!

Morgan Mandel said...

I find that once I get started I can't stop. I just have to apply myself.

Morgan Mandel