OK, so I have a serious question for all of you writers. I don’t do well with “structure.” If I decide that I need to write every day starting at 11 a.m., I will literally never start writing at 11 a.m.. If I decide that I need to leave the house every day in order to write in a coffee shop, then chances are I won’t be able to write in coffee shops. And last week, when I committed to spending the week working on my story, to make a great push to get it to the next turning point… I literally couldn’t touch the story all week. My brain says, “Aaaahh! Crazy people* making unreasonable demands on my time for absolutely no good reason, must turn into a floppy blob on the couch!”
The positive side was that I wrote a million and a half blog posts, and I did tons of laundry, and I made tons of food. But … I didn’t write story at all. And if I ever want to reach The End, as one does, then I need to keep writing. Obviously that level of commitment was too much “structure” for me, where structure is defined as a box that I must fit within. I’m trying to learn to redefine “structure” to mean “useful tool that keeps me heading towards my goal” of writing a lot and reaching the next turning point in my story.
So help me out: What “tools” or “structures” do you use to keep yourself writing and making progress? Do you have any “tricks”? What gets your butt in the chair?
* Just for the record, the crazy people in this instance were me. Yes, even my own brain thinks I’m a crazy unreasonable person. Sigh.
I don’t have the same sort of mental response that you do, but I think every writer has times when it’s difficult to write. A lot depends on why you’re writing. If it’s for self expression then write when the mood strikes and don’t stress. When I’m working toward a specific goal, like completing a story, then I schedule time to write. If I’m having trouble getting going, I’ll put on a longish song–Jesus of Suburbia works for me because it’s about 10 minutes, and I like Green Day–and then I write for however long the song goes. By then, I’ve usually picked up steam and I’m making progress. If I really can’t make myself write what I planned, then I write something else. Sometimes while I’m writing the other thing, my mind will jump back to my original project, and I’ll make some progress. Other times I just work on an alternate project–blog posts certainly fall into that category.
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