Last week I spoke about Writer’s Inertia, that general malaise we all sometimes feel, whether it’s when we’re procrastinating, or facing a blank page, our story board, or blog. It’s the feeling of knowing we should write but maybe not what to write or how to write it, or even perhaps how to start. Our minds when in the state of inertia are at one of two extremes, either crazy busy with random thoughts zinging through disturbing our focus, or terrifyingly blank.
To overcome either type of Writer’s Inertia, I suggest making a plan. Kristen Lamb wrote a post Stress Less, Write More about overcoming procrastination and sitting down at the computer. It’s a great post and she recommends the book Eat That Frog—21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracey. Well, I bought the book and haven’t finished it yet (am I procrastinating?), but so far I’ve gotten some good tips. I’d recommend it.
That post was my jumping off point for dealing with my Writer’s Inertia. I believe it’s slightly different than procrastinating, because I had no trouble getting my butt into my desk chair (well, not much anyway) . But once I got to my chair, then I started to have my problems. So what was I going to do? Here’s some of the ideas that I’ve found (both from the book and from online sources) that are helping me.
Make a plan for your day. (From the book) Either the night before or when you first start your day, make a To Do List of all the things you need to get done. Make sure you schedule in your writing time. Then focus on one thing at a time until you can make your way through your list. The reason this helped me was because it helped quiet my brain. I had written down everything I needed to do, so my brain no longer needed to shout out reminders like a kid with tourette’s. I could start to focus on the page in front of me.
But… Now my brain was blank. Without the craziness, I realized my creativity had been shoved aside by my logical side in order to get things done. Now that the logical side could take a break (because of my list), my creativity should have been rejoicing and spewing story scenes at me. Right?
Wrong. But I remembered a post written by Rachel Aaron on How I Went from Writing 2000 to 10000 Words a Day (A must-read!). Ms Aaron states that in order to increase your word count (mine from zero to something), you must Know What You’re Going To Write. In other words… Make a plan for your writing session.
Take a few minutes and map out the scene that you’re going to write next. Even if you’re a pantser, take a few minutes and figure out what you’re going to write next. I promise you, you’ll write faster and more, because you won’t have to pause and try to figure out where you’re going next or why your character decided to pick up the axe and hack at the kitchen table (oh? Only my character?).
Making these two plans each day has improved my writing (just word count unfortunately) and helped me organize my days and my life. Try it. What can it hurt?
Do you make lists or plans for your day? Do you plan your writing session or do you run with whatever idea is in your head? How do you combat Writer’s Inertia?