How do you get yourself to write?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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E McD
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by E McD » August 16th, 2010, 11:46 pm

dios4vida wrote:This is a long video (20 minutes) but well worth your time. It's a talk done by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) about the creative process. It applies to everything from writing to dancing to painting and every creative endeavor.

My favorite part comes near the end, where she talks about the origins of the Muse and Genius. Essentially, she says that you (the writer) need to show up for work every day, and if the Muse doesn't choose to show up, at least you did your part. It gives an interesting spin on it, and even though I don't really agree with everything she said, I still find it works.

http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilb ... enius.html
Thanks for the link; this was awesome! :)
-Emily McDaniel

Emily J
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by Emily J » August 17th, 2010, 12:24 pm

theepicwinner wrote:Of course the love plays a huge part of it. But I believe every single writer has to discipline themselves to sit down and write. I love writing more than anything else. But I'm lazy. I have to force myself to squeeze out 2,000 words a day.

A good piece of advice I've heard is setting a certain time each day in which to write. It will get your body and mind used to writing at that time, and will make it more difficult to make excuses.

One thing that has always worked for me is reiterating my goals. They include i) not working at a job I hate, which will inevitably happen if I don't make it as a writer, ii) remembering how much I love, love, LOVE writing and how typing something is infinitely better than typing nothing, iii) that practise makes perfect, and last, but by no means least, iv) imagining what it would be like to have a published book with my name on it (which would include screaming my head off, running around my housing estate buck naked, kissing random strangers, etc etc)

Hope this helps.

EDIT: One more thing. Someone once said that those who dream of success die a dreamer, while those who are successful actually work at it. Not the exact quote but you get the idea. It's a good quote to tell yourself.

There's another quote (in my signature) which I love. Listening to songs to motivate yourself helps, too. ("Don't Stop Believing" is a good one. Heck, it's cheesy as HELL, but it works.)
Couldn't agree with this more, especially the part about Journey :)

I always mean to have a set time each day to write, but while I write everyday my schedule changes too much to let me have the same time everyday so this has never worked for me. But I do think that writing everyday is important, even if it's only a sentence or two.

Last year when I was working on a WiP and got stuck, really stuck around 15,000 words, I left my MC in a nightmarish situation and then walked away. What eventually forced me to return and finish the manuscript was guilt. Maybe it sounds crazy but I have this idea that when I stop writing the characters are frozen in that moment, and can't escape until I write them out of it. Guilt forced me to return and save my MC and she took over the story from there and never let me stop writing. So yeah, being deeply invested in your characters and story is to me the basic way to ensure you never abandon them.

What can I say I'm Catholic, guilt comes naturally :)

thrintone
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by thrintone » August 21st, 2010, 11:45 pm

I have a standing weekly 3 hour date with my computer. I know it's not a ton. I do fit as much as I can in during the rest of the week, but with a full time + job and two kids, some times the only time is late at night. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don't.

Really I write because I love to do it, so it really isn't a chore for me. Other than my weekly date with my laptop, I make time for it when I want to.

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HillaryJ
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by HillaryJ » August 22nd, 2010, 12:45 am

It's all about willpower and the idea that, some day, mine might be the book that some (short) kid (in gigantic glasses) pulls off a bookstore or library shelf, or the nightstand of a friend, opens up and says "Whoa" and then disappears into for a day or two. I write because of how much I enjoy reading and how much I would like to contribute to someone else's enjoyment of reading.

I write despite 40 hours a week earning the roof over my head and health coverage, while balancing the care and upbringing of a child and the care and maintenance of a marriage. I do it by making myself do it, even if I can only catch fifteen minutes in between running errands at lunch or, like today, put in nine hours with one short break for a (well deserved, if I do say so myself) donut break.

Get yourself off the internet and away from the television. Make the goals realistic. When I'm single-momming while the spouse is away on business for a week, I put the kid in my sightline and throw on noise-cancelling headphones. Will I hit 1,000 words on those nights? No. Might I generate a decent paragraph? If I'm writing, I have a better chance of it.
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as Regan Summers - The Night Runner series from Carina Press

wonderactivist
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by wonderactivist » August 24th, 2010, 8:57 am

Hi Mira & everyone,

I'm new here and this looks like a great place to start. For most of my life, writing was a challenge. I didn't believe in my ability so I rarely wrote. When I did, some professor or employer would read it to the class or make me the corporate editor, but proposals and philosophy papers aren't exactly my true calling, so I ended up editing professionally. Essentially, if my emotions overflowed I would write pure %$#@ - you get my drift.

Then I turned 47. I know it's a strange number, but something about it made me finally realize that if I didn't start writing seriously it would never happen. The very act of putting words to page was heartwrenching at first. The blank screen or bare page intimidated me and the words I wrote were awful. I burned the first notebook and later burned the second one--that was kinda fun!

Finally last fall some characters started speaking to me. I gave them a setting and started reading about plot. The more I wrote, the more they wouldn't leave me alone. I started carrying a notebook and would sit in the Little League bleachers, writing furiously through the games. The other parents would nudge me when my son came up to bat. It's amazing how the disjointed, unconnected scenes that the characters had been dictating for months ended up fitting together like a puzzle. I read many books on writing fiction, but the most helpful was Stephen King's On Writing. The most important step I made was to write for myself, period.

One simple realization made it all come together: I write best when I just sort of clear my mind and let the characters tell me the story. Maybe I'm insane, but it truly comes from nowhere, yet it's colored by my life experience. My job is to stay out of the way and then revise. If I'm having an off day, I step outside with a notebook. When I'm on the computer, I close out the internet and turn off the spell check. I've finished my first mystery and started my second. Who knows if these early works will ever be published? I've recruited 12 readers and they've shared priceless insights about my strengths and weaknesses. An agent requested a partial off my first query...

...and I got my first rejection! NOW I'm a writer.

Warm regards

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sierramcconnell
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by sierramcconnell » August 24th, 2010, 10:23 am

Wait, I might have skipped over some of these replies because the title caught me but I'm confused. You have to get yourself to write?

I can't not write!

I constantly have ideas in my head that are tugging at my fingers. I want to write, right now. In fact, as I'm typing this, I think I would rather be at home on my bed, planning out the next book. I'm trying to figure out if there are parts in the first one that still need smoothing because one beta got done with her part, and the other one was eaten by a voracious moving monster known only as The Dorm. I have a new one I just sent it off to today. This is version 4.5 or so.

I have two other stories, one that is fully formed and waiting for NaNo. The other is a sniggly idea calling to me from the dust of the carpet to be tamed. Another few are on the shelves, whispering that it wouldn't take much to tame them since I have a lot scribbled down.

What do you mean, 'get yourself to write'? I'm obsessed with it. Wish I could have a job of it, so I could stop this silly computer support job and-

Excuse me, I apologize, as I was saying before some random person came in to bark about the thermostat, this silly computer support job where I am stuffed into a closet and expected that 'if it has power, it must be IT'. :D

[breathes]
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

beeboo15
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by beeboo15 » August 24th, 2010, 1:03 pm

Here are a couple of things that have helped me over the years.

Always leave the document open--it's there waiting for you, just begging to be worked on while you putter around and do other things. When an idea strikes, head for the computer and write it down. I'm a homebody, so that's easy for me.

I write when I have time. While dinner's cooking, early mornings for half an hour before work or after work for as long as I can. I tried doing large chunks on weekends, but that didn't work for a variety of reasons. Something always pretty much interfered.

Having a deadline helps--I'm working with a parnter on a novel and we've committed to 20 pages a month (which doesn't sound like much, but we both work full time, and it's what we agreed on), so we should be done by April. Also, working with a partner is motivation, because I don't want to be the one holding up the whole ball of wax.

What motivates me the most, though, is knowing I'll have something to write when I sit down. Even when I'm not at the computer I'm thinking about characters or plotting or planning.

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Vandersun
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by Vandersun » August 25th, 2010, 5:45 am

I completely agree with whoever it is that said "go somewhere, plant butt in chair, and write" (or some variation therof). Lately, I've been one of those who is constantly wearing an excuse. "Oh, I deserve a break," or "Work was so grueling today, my creative juices are sapped." But really? There never IS a good time, unless you happen to actually be one of those fictional characters who lives in a cabin somewhere with ONLY enough electricity running through it to fuel a laptop, WITHOUT internet, and no television or spouse, children, pets, etc. to distract you. And even if that's the case, you'd probably still be sitting there going, "Man, I'll bet I my writing would benefit from a nice ten mile walk right about now."

So thank you SOOOOO much, for those of you who have been at this long enough to cut through some of the crap we tell ourselves, and lay it out like the gem of wisdom it is: "Stop whining and write!"

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TigerGray
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by TigerGray » August 25th, 2010, 7:57 pm

I think it is very important to cultivate the ability to write anywhere, with the tools you have at hand. Whether you want to isn't the issue. It is like jumping in to cold water. The more you think about it, the less likely you are to do it. There's no advice beyond patch together that first sentence anyway you can, even if you're sick, even if you're tired, even if you're too warm/cold/thirsty/bored, then the next, and eventually, it gets easier.
"Who knows themselves better than the blind?' - for every thought becomes a tool." --Luis Borges

http://tigergray.blogspot.com/

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Lillian Grant
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by Lillian Grant » August 26th, 2010, 12:12 am

I have a very fulltime job so I have to write when I can. It's not unusual to see me writing in my hour long lunch break or for half an hour at the end of the day whilst I wait for the traffic to die down. Evenings and weekends I spend as many hours as I can on the sofa with my laptop in my lap. I hate not having time to write. Because I don't really plot I am always dying to know what my characters are going to do next. I never have a problem getting motivated to write but my husband complains he has trouble finding motivation for me to stop. :)

amyashley
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Re: How do you get yourself to write?

Post by amyashley » August 27th, 2010, 2:51 pm

I do NOT have chunks of time, or if I do they are very rare! I have three kids, 4 and under as well as many health problems that sap a tremendous amount of energy, and give me a great deal of pain. I've learned to type in 2-5 minute increments, with one or two fingers, and to work out plot points in my head while I cook or shower, or whatever. I also take lots of various notes on different issues pertaining to manuscripts, even if it is very basic things like a character's daily schedule, or a listing of characters' names and occupations. These things keep me on track, take small chunks of time, and are often very time saving when I am writing. I'd love to put a disclaimer on my final book that 80% of it was typed one fingered with a 2 yr. old in my lap!

I personally have found that the best way to keep myself on track is to have a set of Alpha Readers and send them 3-4 chapters a week, always on Monday or Tuesday. These chapters are edited 2-3 times, but it is still rough. They know that it's rough, but the feedback is great because it is from my target market. They are acquaintances who feel comfortable enough to criticize, and nobody is editing. They just say what they like or don't, and the involvement level is on them. There are about 15 of them. It holds me accountable and it's been good to hear both the positive and negative.

I know not everyone is a fan of sharing their work, nor is everyone as organic in their writing style or as quick. My chapters run about 2000 words, so that's 6-8000 words a week edited. I took a break halfway through to do a final edit on half the book, so that should say how thorough my edits are. I think it is a combination of determination and time balancing. It helps to have a good laptop too!

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