Since I haven’t been writing much lately, I need to ease back into it. I am planning on using tips from Kristen Kieffer at Well-Storied to create my daily writing schedule.
First, I need to come up with a daily word count minimum. I can barely crank out 50 words for journaling some days, so I will aim for 100 words a day on any one of my various works-in-progress or something new. I will not count my journaling, since that’s non-fiction.
Second, I will have to write early in the morning, since I am usually a night owl and I want to change things up. School starts in a few weeks, so getting up early will need to become habit again. I’ll set my alarm for 5am and be writing by 5:15am.
Third, I need to decide where I am going to write. Some nights, I bring my laptop upstairs with me, with the goal of getting things done, but I usually fall asleep instead. To wake me up in the mornings though, I suppose having to walk all the way downstairs to use my laptop will be better than hitting snooze.
Last, I need to have some sort of small goal to work towards. In one month (31 days from tomorrow), I want to have written 3100 words. If I reach that goal, I will get to buy a new notebook (my favorites are Fringe Studio notebooks from TJ Maxx).
I recently learned that my procrastination is linked to perfectionism. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I don’t remember. But either way, they are linked. (It’s also linked to anxiety, but we won’t go there yet.) I am by no means a Type A/Everything has to be perfect-person but I seem to forget that a first draft can be revised – and it should be revised.
A first draft is supposed to be messy and not always make sense and there might be plot holes and you might forget some details. That’s okay. That’s why it’s a first draft.
Another mark of perfectionism according to Mandy Wallace is that you spend more time reading about writing than actually writing. Yep. This is me. At any given time, I have at least ten tabs open on my laptop (and at least ten more open on my phone) for writing advice sites. But actually putting those practices to work? Yeah, no. It’s too hard.
Not Having a Writing Schedule
Right now, I write whenever inspiration strikes, which isn’t often, I’ll be honest. I spend more time trying to force myself to write than writing (goes along with the point above). So I looked up how to set a writing schedule. James Clear has a great list of Twelve Famous Writers and their schedules. But I was looking for something a little more…normal.
On almost every site, it says that you should figure out whether you write better in the morning, at night, or somewhere in between. I guess I am a night owl, since I am nearly useless in the morning. The Write Practice suggests that instead of writing at night like I am used to, I should switch it up and write early in the morning. I may have to give this a try. At the very least, it will be good to see a sunrise again.
This is something I do in almost every area of my life. I hold myself back, stop myself from making progress. Why? Who knows? Maybe my therapist can help me figure it out.
The first thing that jumped out at me on Kristen Lamb‘s site was this: “Most of us fear we don’t have what it takes.” I think this is true because there are countless stories of writers publishing their work and not selling anything. Or some writers never even publish because they don’t think it’s good enough. She mentions “pantsing” in her post. It’s not what you think – in the writing world, it means that you fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to your writing. No plotting, no character/world-building. Just writing. I’m pretty much a pantser. This is actually a great post – she lists the ways that writers self-sabotage and also ways to get over it. I’ll definitely be trying some of these!
Sounds like I have a bit of work to do before my classes start in two weeks!
I used to write all the time. If I wasn’t reading some fiction book, I was writing my own stories in notebooks, or journaling about my day. I was always writing. It came easy to me. But for the past two years, I haven’t been able to write a single word of fiction. I do journal – but it’s usually just a few sentences about how I don’t know what to right and every day is the same stuff all over again.
After my youngest child was born in January of 2014, I couldn’t read. I just didn’t have the mental capacity to read a book. That terrible stretch ended after about three years, which made me so happy, I went and bought the Kindle edition of the Harry Potter series. During that time, I didn’t do any writing either, but it didn’t bother me at the time. Now? Now it bothers me.
I want to write. I want to have ideas again, and put those ideas down on paper. I sign up for NaNoWriMo every year, and each Camp (April and July), in hopes that inspiration will magically strike on the first day.
I really want to be able to write fiction again, so I did a little research as to why it’s so hard. Even as I type that, I know I sound a little whiny, but I really miss writing and getting lost in my characters’ world.
Focus and Practice
One of the first sites I clicked on mentioned that writing requires focus and practice, among other things. Well, these are two things that I do not have right now. I was diagnosed with ADHD-Combination type last year, and it made so much sense to me as to why I wasn’t able to write like I used to, or to comprehend what I was reading for college assignments. As for practice, I know I need to just sit down and write. But I always feel like I need to wait for an idea before I write. The idea never comes, so I never write. It’s something I need to work on for sure. I found this quote on another site:
” Writing is difficult for numerous reasons. Writers struggle with finances to time to losing friends, but the key to being a good and strong writer is that you never give up. You write, you fail, you write again, you improve. With everything you have to practice. “
Not Knowing What to Say and Being Physically Uncomfortable
On yet another site, it says “You can’t write if you don’t know what you want to say”. It goes on to give suggestions on how to combat this such as researching the idea you do have, and if that doesn’t help, making an outline of your idea which will give you more to work with, and if none of those tips work, then where I am at the moment may be the issue. I know this to be true.
I have been dealing with some physical pain lately, and I’m sure my POS couch isn’t helping things. I currently sit hunched over my laptop, which sits on a coffee table in my living room. I don’t have a desk, nor do I really have room in my house for a desk. It’s something that I think would really help me a lot though, both with writing and school work.
Getting out in public to write is also really uncomfortable for me. Even when I have headphones in, I still feel like everyone is staring at me and judging me (for what? I don’t know. Social anxiety isn’t exactly rational.) Figuring out where to put a desk in my house seems like the best bet.