The Challenge


It’s a challenge to get to the writing computer for me lately. It seems I’m suffering from some weird form of writer’s block, but it’s the weirdness that gets me.

I have a bunch of ideas, and even have had some scenes pop into my head at random. But I still haven’t been able to get my BICFOK on.

So, what’s a lazy writer to do?

There’s no shortage of advice on the Internet for writers. If you want some guidance, input, or viewpoint on getting time to write, you will most certainly find it.

Jeff Goins even wrote a book on it.

One thing I haven’t tried yet, though, is blogging my book. I seem to have a bit of stuff to say about writing, even though I’m not doing it, and I need to practice anyway. If I simply shift focus from blogging (“blahging”?) to fiction, that gives me the practice I need, but how hard is that transition?

I’m trying to develop my own voice, my unique style and manner in writing. And it’s no mean feat, I have to tell you. I guess getting that first million through would be a big help, it’s just that I’m not producing.

And I remain skeptical that blogging fiction would help being productive. I have to produce somehow, but if I’m in a dry spell, how will that be broken by changing where the fiction is visible?

Maybe it won’t. Maybe what will change is only the when of the writing. Should I discover, however, that I’m far more creative during hours which belong to my employer, how do I reconcile that?

Also, what if I get caught up in it? Some writers maintain just the act of writing sparks their creativity. I’m not sure if it will or not for me, but it can’t be worse than not trying.

Other writers swear by challenges and streaks. They work toward completing a challenge of some kind – a story a week, or a novel a month, or a chapter, scene, or word count per day. Meeting that challenge drives them forward and they write, even if it’s something they’re not happy with later. Still others say keeping a streak alive is enough to drive them onward; I’ve written x-number of days in a row, I can’t stop now. That sort of thing.

So there are lots of ways to motivate myself to writing. The real challenge for me is in coming up with a challenge I can meet. Setting myself up for failure does me no good. I just need to get myself moving, writing again. I want the practice. But I need to be consistent. And I need to learn how to make myself write even when I don’t want to.

Anybody got any sneaky methods for getting themselves motivated? I can use all the help you’ve got. 🙂

Happy Friday, y’all!

See you next time.

-jdt-

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3 thoughts on “The Challenge

  1. I think it’s about what inspires you. What excites you, what do you feel passionate about? Re-write some scenes from a game universe you love, or a TV show you loved. but you don’t like how the writers did it. Something like “Keep Mordin alive AND cure the genophage” kind of story line. You don’t have to actually publish them, or you could PW protect them so only a few people can see it. Write about something that angers you, or something you dream about, or a memory.

    Most of my memories seem made up anyway, so why not, right? LOL
    Seriously, though, I should probably try some or all of these suggestions. (By the way, keeping Mordin alive is a cinch if the game doesn’t force the issue. But I wouldn’t cure the genophage anyway; let those quad-lickers rot.)

    Whatever I do, I have to keep the fingers moving over the keys. Have to.

    I’m not a creative person so I don’t fully comprehend the mechanism that inspires but I know it’s there. Maybe for you it’s a tweaking thing – how to do something better. It can be hard to start from scratch (make your own dirt! lol) but maybe tweaking will inspire a new beginning someplace else. 🙂

    LOL! I love that joke!

    Eh…don’t think I’m much of a tweaker anymore, Love. I think I have a real disdain for fan fiction, too, because it’s so disrespectful to the original creators. I won’t likely do that myself. But I think just writing something, ANYTHING, will be beneficial. The way the flash fiction was back in the day.

    Hm…there’s something…

    LTY!

    LTY2!

  2. DWS talks about _project_ block. No such thing as writer’s block. Critical voice getting in the way. Or just stuck on an issue with that particular piece of writing.

    Interesting point, Sean! I agree – this is probably either a “critical voice” issue, or I’ve made the writing “important” somehow. More ways than one, methinks.

    Challenges are good – word count goals, monthly goals, publication goals. Switching projects: try writing in a different genre. Try writing from a different POV.

    You know, I think that POV shift might work some. I hate the crutch of first person, but maybe it would snap me out of the funk. And I do have a new project I haven’t broken ground on yet.

    I noticed when I reached my annual wordcount goal this year–a few weeks back–my writing slowed down. So I added a stretch goal – complete another novel by the end of December. That means going _above_ my daily workcount average so far. That helps keep me in the writing chair.

    Oh, wow, a novel before the end of the year? Very aggressive goal! How’s it coming? 🙂 I do like the idea of extending a writing run, though. Great ideas, all, thank you!

    Just my 2c.

    Worth far more to me, though. Thank you Sean, very much.

  3. 🙂
    My annual goal is a half million words. I’ve hit that four years running, but this has been the first year where I’ve also completed and published a half million too. I always have a stretch goal of averaging 1500 words a day. I noticed with hitting three targets this year (word count, completed projects and published words) that I’d slowed and might miss that 1500 words a day. So I added that extra novel. Just before the start of December. Aiming for 50,000 words, I guess. I’m at 22,500. It won’t be proofed and published before December 31, but it should be written.

    HOLY CROW, HALF A MILLION WORDS A YEAR?! Pulp speed ahead, m’man! 🙂 Those are fantastic numbers. Now I can’t wait to pick up one of your books to see how that practice has shined your prose to a gleaming beam. 🙂 Seriously, that’s amazing, and to have done it four years running? Astounding. As an aside, do you have a full-time day job too, or are you writing full-time? Brilliant stuff. And it echoes all DWS’s statements about the power of streaks and goals. Congrats on the new book too! GREAT job!

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