So You Wanna Write? (Introduction)

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 8.13.23 PMWriters, I’m sure you’ve been there. You wake up and you say, “Today I’m gonna write 15,000 words!” You jump out of bed, eat your Cocoa Puffs, switch on the computer, and ten minutes later when it finally powers on and the curser beckons you in a blank Word document, you blank out.

Hmmm… maybe some music will help. So you go to your iTunes playlist and play the one called “Inspirational Songs.”

“The Call” by Regina Spektor starts playing. Then you start wondering, What movie is this song from? So you google the song and come to find out that it’s from Disney’s Prince Caspian. Then you’re wondering if that’s a Narnia movie or a Lord of the Rings follow-up. So you google Prince Caspian and find out that it’s the second movie in the Chronicles of Narnia. Then you start wondering, Who played Prince Caspian, and whatever happened to him? So you hop on over to IMDB and type in Prince Caspian and find out that the title character is played by some guy named Ben Barnes and see that his filmography is filled with a bunch of movies you’ve never heard of. Killing Bono? What’s that? you wonder. You click on it and don’t recognize it one bit, but you notice that the director’s name rings a bell. So you click on it. Nope. Don’t recognize anything he’s done, either. Just a mistake. By this time “The Call” ends and the next song starts. “Well I fell down, down, down, into this dark and lonely hole…” The song makes you well up, so you figure if you’re going to get emotional, you might as well throw open the floodgates. So you Youtube the guy who’s singing this song, Zach Sobiech, and watch the 22-minute video for the fourteenth time. Next thing you know you’re in the bathroom using the last of the tissues and now you don’t even know what you got up so early for on a Saturday to begin with.

Meanwhile that curser is still blinking off and on behind your Youtube, Google, IMDB, and email windows.

Blink, blink, blink.

And it’s just waiting to hear tap, tap, tap from your keyboard.

And then when you collect yourself, sleep for a few more minutes, you return to your computer only to find yourself scrolling so far down your Facebook feed, Romney/Ryan campaign pictures fill your screen.

But when you finally get around to closing all your windows (by now you’ve digested your dinner), you’re met with that blink, blink, blink once again.

Blink, blink, blink goes the cursor.

Blank, blank, blank goes your brain.

The numbing drug-like effects of surfing the Internet all day has worn off. And now you’re met with resentment and bitterness for not having even come up with a synopsis or a one-page outline for your bestselling, Pulitzer-worthy, all-American novel (twelve-million copies sold).

Won’t you join me for the next few weeks in dissecting the difficulties of writing and how we can overcome the challenges of procrastination, distractions, and wrier’s blocks? I’ve written two books so far, and I’ve got two more in development, and I plan to write many more.

I want to teach you some rather unexpected tricks I use to accomplish my writing goals. I’m not saying I’m perfect and that I don’t get distracted (just ask my wife). But I have met goals, and I have learned quite a bit about the tedious craft of writing (all this from an easily distracted child of the 80’s.) And I want to share some of my tricks with you. See you in the next few posts.

Blink, blink, blink.

 

 

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About adoptingjames
My lovely wife and I are foster parents, dog owners, home owners, and Christians. I am a blogger, book editor, and author. On my blog you'll read about adoption, faith topics, inspirational thoughts, and a whole lotta Disney/Pixar lovin'! For the most exciting read ever, check out my suspense/adventure novel, The Man in the Box. You. Will. Love it.

51 Responses to So You Wanna Write? (Introduction)

  1. JackG88 says:

    Great post. I know this feeling very well – the opening picture alone brought up some very bitter feelings.

    I had a bad experience last night after work where I sat down to my new story that was only one thousand words in, hoping to get half an hour of writing done before I had to make dinner. As my laptop started up I opened the day’s post, only to find that every possible bill had come at once. I ended up spending my free half hour checking the gas and electric meters and paying bills online, without writing a single word before dinner.

    An hour later dinner was made and eaten, so I sat down to the blinking cursor once more. Almost the instant my finger tapped the first key my phone rang, and it was my mother calling to discuss our plans to visit at the weekend. By the time that conversation was finished the football had started (UK, so soccer to those over the pond), I tried and failed to half watch and half write for the next 90 minutes.

    In the end I managed to get about 2,000 words down, but I’m hoping for a much more forgiving session tonight!

    I look forward to your follow-up posts to this.

  2. So glad I garden – I get to lean on the spade while I mull over new ideas! ;)

  3. janetgzinn says:

    You’ve done a great job of translating the gap between imagining writing and the reality of any given day.

  4. ccsweeny says:

    Lol…this happens a lot…eventually I do get a hold on it before the day is over. Hopefully Camp NaNoWriMo will help me stay on track in April or I’ll be doing exactly everything you wrote here

  5. thompsons5 says:

    I know how you feel. It seems I’m there everyday, especially when research is involved. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I wanna write! Face pressed to the screen awaiting your next post!

  7. PigLove says:

    Snorts. Have you been reading my diary? Double snorts. This is me. I try to do my writing when it inspires me and not keep to a schedule. Does that work? Yes and no. At times, I have inspirations of amusing stories that I can share. During those times, I create a draft and let is go. It works for those times that the darn blessed cursor just sits there continually blinking and laughing at me. XOXO – Bacon

  8. kat3kets1gog says:

    My great online distractor is writing advice pages. Especially ones that make me scream, “I can’t write like that!” I can spend hours trying to figure out how I could possibly do what these pundits say and/or justifying why I shouldn’t or can’t.

    Along with that I spend entirely too much time on the Writing Forums site. The people there can be wonderful if you’re stuck, but it’s tempting to keep checking and checking to see what’s doing on your watched threads.

  9. billlabrie says:

    I know the feeling, but I’ve gotten better.

    Here’s something that helped me:

    http://billlabrie.com/2014/02/23/serve-that-s-how-to-recover-from-perfectionism/

  10. I always get distracted. It’s like, if I stop for one minute to look up something on the Internet, I find myself stuck on the Internet for hours. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’d love to read about your tricks.

  11. Kendall says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, I am ready!!!

  12. bobmcgough says:

    This used to be a problem for me. I have adapted to it though. I have discovered that I need a little mindless time, a little cruising, to wipe my brain clear of the stresses of life. If I spend thirty minutes toodlin around the internet, when I sit down to really write, the words flow much smoother and I get a lot more done it seems.

  13. Desiree B says:

    You’ve described my worst days in a nutshell.

  14. temaivacha says:

    This is exactly what happens to me almost every time I’ve tried to write lately.

  15. Jon says:

    Yup, it happens.. One of my two works is a dual narrative, some person, present and past as he writes about a long lost love. And, it’s a true story, to some extent. Dredging up old painful memories can be difficult. But in two days I managed to get 6,000 words down. It’s a pipe line work, I’m still finishing up the current piece, but I had to get this started, out of my system. So many ways to get pulled off. Focus, write, edit, repeat.

  16. Debs says:

    Hi
    Having just started a new blog (thanks for following, by the way!) I am keen to improve my writing skills so I’m excited to read your article here and learn more :) Thank you.
    Debs

  17. mjmsprt40 says:

    I can think of hundreds of great ideas. Problem: I think of them while I’m driving, can’t write down anything. Then, when I do get to write anything— I can’t remember even one of the great ideas I had. Waaahhh!
    Still, we manage to get something once in a while.

  18. oliviare says:

    I’m looking forward to the rest of this series! I’m a full time student and I’ve been struggling to up my word count with so many academic commitments getting priority. When I finally find myself with time to write, I end up falling down the Wikipedia/IMDB rabbit hole until I have to put on SelfControl (which blocks any sites you blacklist) to concentrate.

  19. winolady says:

    I read Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones” and it changed my life… writing wise. Best of luck in your endeavors!

  20. Faith Simone says:

    Lol 2 “Romney/Ryan” campaigns! Been there and done that with the writing distractions. As a child of the 80’s myself, I’m looking forward to getting some tips on staying focused. We need all the help we can get!

  21. mariaperdana says:

    I have been keeping my WordPress blog because my late Dad used to say that I HAVE to learn how to write [currently I am a translator]. I love to write – I just don’t know what to say, LOL. Reading your post [and the one after this] really cheered my up in some “weird” way – from one “writer” to another [am not sure I can be called a writer, took me five hours just to perfect one blog entry and one book sounds awfully a lifetime for me]. I will read on – this is highly interesting and useful :D, thanks.

  22. Pingback: So You Wanna Write Part 3: Why Write? | adoptingjames

  23. Whenever I find myself starting at a blinking cursor. I go to the motivations. Whether it is a short story or a chapter if I know where I’m starting and where I want to go writers block floats away like chaff in the wind.

    Focusing on the motivations keeps the story on topic too. Things happen because they should happen or take part in the natural flow.

  24. Pingback: So You Wanna Write Part 5: What to Write | adoptingjames

  25. Steve Hinkle says:

    Thanks for following me and for your blogs on writing. I hope to start writing a book soon and all and any pointers are welcomed. Thanks.

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