Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Get Out of Your Own Way!

If you haven't signed up for the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blogfest, now's your time!

Please tell me I'm not the only one who makes a list of writerly things to do the night before.  You know, the kind when your head hits the pillow, just before you float away to sleep you smile because this is it.  Because of this list you are finally going to get it together and make it all happen the way you want. 

Then the next day comes.  You oversleep, the baby is sick, your daughter is yelling at you because she wants to go to the pool and your husband is out of clean socks.  By the time you get the children calm and load of laundry in, your emails have piled up.  You really should check them because you don't want to get behind.  There could be some great writing info in there, maybe a tidbit on great agents and that will be important if you ever finish your novel.

Finally, all caught up, it's time to get down to business.  Oh wait, the kids are hungry.  Is it already lunchtime?  And that laundry, can't forget to put it in the dryer.  Might as well do another load while you're at it.  Oh and the house, you at least need to straighten it.

What kids?  You say you're tired of being cooped up in the house all day?  The guilt settles.  To the park you go!

Once are good, second load of laundry is drying--the rest can wait.  It really is time to write. 

Oh, hey honey.  Is it already 5:30?  Guess you'd better start dinner, clean up dinner, get the kids bathed and in bed. 

Whew!  Now you're going to do it...get one word on paper at least.  No wait, Vampire Diaries season finally is on tonight.  You can't miss that and then if you don't get in bed you won't be able to move in the morning.

Okay, fine, after you watch that you will make another list for tomorrow and this time you'll be better.  This book isn't going to write itself.

Sound like a day in your life?  If not, good for you! 

Do you get in your own way?  This example is one tiny thing I do in a long list of road blocks.  What are yours and how do you deal with them?

A couple things I do to get out of my own way are:

1)Find the writing time that works for me and stick with it.  For me this happens to be early before the kids wake up.  Talking myself out of it and sleeping in would be nice, but then writing doesn't happen when I do.  We are all different.  What is right for you?

2)Break down my writing goals into small attainable goals.  How long do you want your current novel to be?  When do you want to finish the first draft?  How many days do you plan on writing?  Figure those three things out and you will come up with a number.  Mine is 1283.  Is your number doable for you?  If not tweak some things, but get your number and stick to it.

3) Stay on course.  It is easy to get side tracked with emails, play times, phone calls and the many other things that come in our way every day.  Try setting time aside for each of these things so they don't interfere.  Then...don't cheat.  If the phone rings while you are writing, don't pick it up.  Plan play time and when it comes make it happen, don't wait.  The kids will be happier and so will you.

These are just a few things that work for me, but just like my novel, I am a work in progress so I'd love to hear from you.  What do you do to get out of your own way?


Christine Murray said...

Everything! My day job, running the house, my illness. But I'm getting better at making time for my writing, thankfully.

Jordan McCollum said...

Lately I'm just spinning my wheels. I have time to write, but I always end up frittering it all away. I look up and it's midnight and my kids have only slept until 7 once this week, and I've been on the computer so much the kids are freaking out to get my attention all day long.

So right now I'm taking a break from my book, and working on a fun project with a friend, and some other creative outlets.

But yes, that day sounds very familiar! I've wanted to switch to writing in the morning so I wouldn't feel so compelled to waste my day on the computer, but I'm dead in the morning.

Amanda McCusker said...

You have just described my day to a tee! There's always something else to do. I'm focusing on blogging right now, but only because I haven't finished the planning stages of my novel yet. I'm still not 100% sure what I want to write about, I just know I want to write. I am actually finding that I focus better at night. I'm a night owl anyway so it's easier for me to stay up when it is quiet and get all my thoughts out instead of unsuccessfully try to get up early.


Alleged Author said...

I get in my own way when I veer off in different directions. I will sit down to write and not write at all because I'm too busy looking at books on Amazon.

Wendy Lu said...

You have an excellent blog! Hence, I am a new follower and can't wait to read more. :)

Sometimes when I look at the big picture of my writing project I get overwhelmed, so like you I try to break down my goals into smaller ones and work with a different goal each day.


Kristin Rae said...

Oh I hear you. I don't even have kids and I'm all over the place! I just squeeze in writing when I can. I've tried scheduling it in like it's part of my work day, but that's hard to stick to sometimes.

Deana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deana said...

Christine- I really believe it's like that too, your not just going to be some perfect writer who makes time every day. It takes time and good for you that you are getting it!

Jordan- That really stinks that you are going through the writer rut. I went through it recently...actually after you beta read my wip, for like 3 months. It was horrible and I kept beating myself up for it. I think that is great you are finding another outlet to be creative in. You know writing is your thing, you're great at it so the fire will hit you again.

Amanda- Hey you have something going for you, knowing when your time to write is. It took me forever to figure it out. The 'what to write' part will come too with time:)

Alleged- I feel ya girl! That internet can get you every time. My downfall is working on my blog and hopping around visiting others. I tell myself it is for my writing but then I don't write anything all day:)

The Red Angel- Thanks so much!
I agree, writing can seem like such a big thing to take hold of, I love the little goals.

Kristin- It is hard to stick to, especially when you don't make money for it. We just have to keep telling ourselves...maybe one day it will, maybe one day it will:)

parenting ad absurdum said...

Deana - have you been watching over me? This was so a description of my day - from the list the night before on.

I know I'm counterproductive when I beat myself up over what I'm NOT getting done. I try to focus on what I have accomplished - even a paragraph is more than I had before.

Deana said...

parenting- How did you find me out? Hehe, seriously it is like a breath of fresh air knowing others go through this. I mean, I realize it, but then you check out peoples blogs and hear their stories about the 4 books they are writing and you think...what am I doing wrong. So as much as I hate it for you that this is you too, I am happy. Weird I know:)

Donna K. Weaver said...

It's time management and learning to say "no." If you learn either of those, let me know.=D I could use some pointers.

Stefanie said...

I usually write a list of things I need to accomplish for the week. This ranges from working on my manuscript to doing work for my publishing company. Most times, I'm able to accomplish everything. Luckily I work from home and am able to work at any time throughout the day. But when I was working in Corporate America, my life mirrored yours. ;-)

Brittany said...

chose you for the Sunshine Award, stop by my site and pick it up!! :)


Juliana L. Brandt said...

Sometimes, it's not that I get in the way of myself, it's that my writing muse has other plans!

Last month, I made the plan to finish Guardians, but my muse instead decided I should have a writing block and need to rewrite the outline for the second half. Thankfully that ended and I'm back on track.

p.s. I'm working my butt off to get Guardians at least semi-finished before your blogfest! Thanks for the great insentive to put the work in :)

Deana said...

Donna- HA! I'll let you know if I figure it out:)

Stefanie- It's a sad thing that I don't work in corporate america and still have these issues:) You've figured it out! Good for you:)

Brittany- Thanks for the love...that is so sweet!

Juliana- I guess our writing takes us where it will:) I'm glad I can actually help motivate you in your writing. I feel so special:)

Leslie S. Rose said...

Great advice. I seem to be more disciplined when I am working. I teach all day and then my nirvana is writing time. When I'm off for the summer my mind fragments and I run a thousand different ways at the same time. I need to put up an OPEN sign and list my writing hours so my summer brain will be more regimented.

Anonymous said...

When i have both kids at home I try and have one major thing that we do mid morning and get a bit of writing in in the afternoon. I try hard to get up earlier than everyone else to catch up on blogs, but today I was exhausted after a bad night with kiddos and beta reading most of this week meant I was already behind. I'm just going to have to call this a reading week. I'm learning so much from a craft book this week, so at least I'm learning something. I'm also giving my WIp to two kids down the street to read tomorrow, excited for their feedback. I don't know why some writers look forward to getting more writing done in summer, that sounds bizarre to me, surely it's the other way around. Keep tossing those balls up!

Emily R. King said...

My road block is getting up in the morning. You see, I've discovered that the best time to get what's in my head out and on to paper (or my keyboard) is to wake up EARLY and write. Just like scripture study, if you do it early, it's done and you can get on with your day. I find writing works the same way. The bonus is that after I write I can spend the rest of the day pondering, jotting down notes, and then revising my latest work before going to bed. The next day I get up and start again. Sounds like a fool-proof plan, right? NO! Well, maybe it would be if I were a morning person, but I am not. So my road block? SLEEP! Then again, I'm a mom of three, so I've learned to get by on a wink or two. Who needs sleep, eh?

Kristin Lynn Thetford said...

Another great post, Deana! You are right, there are just so many distractions.

I find that the best time for me to write is at night. It is quiet and calm and I can really focus on what I am doing.

Making goals goes a long way - like setting a daily word count or a "complete by" date.

I love number 3 - "stay on course." The only way to "find" time to write is to "make" time to write.

Awesome post. Thanks!

BTW, I have given you an award over on my blog. ;)

Deana said...

Leslie- I can see how working would make it easier to write...because you are already in a focused mindset. I like the summer hours sign idea too for the summer. I'm open from 6:30-8:30 to get my word count in for the day during the summer:)

Catherine- That's a great idea to something with your kids midmorning. That's about the time mine are ready, but not quite boiling over with bordem. If you get it out of there system early there good to go.

E.R.- Couldn't agree more. I am hands down a morning writer, but I AM NOT a morning person. I have found if I keep the same schedule I did when I had to get up with my kids for school however, it isn't horrible and they are luckily still sleeping at that time during the summer.

Kristin- Thanks! I envy you and your night writing habits. That is what I WANT to be, I've tried it but alas, it just isn't my thing.

Thanks for the award too:)

Book Lover said...

Have you been spying on me?

Deana said...

hahaha! I told I had been:)

Arlee Bird said...

Different intrusions on my list, but essentially the same problem. My big plans of the night before, the time when I start mapping out my new changes in life, are forgotten after a night's sleep. I really must write out a specific schedule and then see if I can stick to it.

Tossing It Out