Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writing Challenges

I don't mean "Writing Challenges" as in writing contests, or the 5-minute challenges I used to do with other writers on Romance Divas.

What I'm referring to here are those things in your life that prevent you from writing on a daily basis.

Here's a list of my challenges:

1. Children - not so much them bothering me, but the fact that they are so busy, that when they are home, they need my attention.

2. Work - I'm a contract editor, so 90% of my work is done at home. I always have work to do, and it is usually staring at me on my desk. I bought a netbook so I could "remove" myself from my "work" area. With my netbook, I can write wherever I want.

3. Time - this is a poor excuse, but sometimes that ticking clock makes me feel anxious and then the words do not flow when I do end up sitting down.

4. Feeling like I've lost my juju - does this happen to you? You love a story. You think about it constantly. You start writing it. The words flow. And then it stops. The story doesn't interest you anymore. Maybe the characters are not who you think they are, but for some reason, you just aren't that into the story.

5. Downright procrastination - this is different than time or lost juju. Procrastination is, for me, when I know I gotta do it, I can feel the story, but I just don't feel like sitting down and writing. I find other things to do - like work, or those PTO minutes I forgot to type up, or those websites I thought I should review. Whatever it is, procrastination is a bummer.

What are your writing challenges? How do you help yourself get over the hump and back at the keyboard?


SG Redling said...

Of all the challenges you listed, that lost juju is the most horrifying. How many times in a writing career can you look at yourself and say "I'm a fake! A failure! I'm done!" My tally just keeps going up. Maybe it's some sort of momentum builder? Like drawing back a slide to make the missile fly? All I know is I hate it! But then again it feels sooo good when it passes.

Unknown said...

Shelia, I have so many manuscripts that I've started. I hate to admit that because it sounds like I give up. But I've realized that they weren't the stories I was supposed to write. They were learning experiences. I'm not sure that I'll ever go back to them, but they are there nonetheless.

Feeling like a fake is almost a daily occurrence for me. It goes away when I think about Christine and her willingness to represent me. I don't feel so bad, but every time a reject comes from an editor, oh, that stinks. But we must have a thick skin in the industry. That's where that idea of belief in oneself is so important!

Cassy Pickard said...

Kris: Your list is a good one! Sorry to say, I understand each of the points. My kids are grown and out of the house, but I'm still amazed at how much time they need.

My biggest issue I need to "own." Somehow writing and working at home appears to the rest of the world as my being totally available. The phone doesn't stop ringing, friends want to meet for coffee or lunch, and my guilt piles up right along with the laundry. I say "own" this for I'm terrible about setting limits. I need to learn to say, "I take calls between 3-4 in the afternoon." Or some variation.

Having said that, my fridge is now at 50 degrees and the service light is flashing at double time. Should I wait until 3pm to call the repair man? It's only milk, eggs, and all the usual stuff I'll lose? There goes the day.


Unknown said...

Oh, Cassy, I'm so with you! I feel horrible saying it, but I too wish I could set limits to the phone calls and emails that I get. I almost 100% of the time answer a work phone call, even if it's at 8pm! Emails? Well, that's one of the reasons I got the netbook - I feel so compelled to answer my work emails almost as soon as I get them. I know my colleagues appreciate that, but it really is distracting if I'm trying to write. If I do decide to write at my desk, I do not open my email client. But, in the back of my mind, I know there is email coming and it nags at me. Thank goodness for my iPod - listening to music helps me get rid of the noise in my head and lets me create.

Anita Clenney said...

You've hit all of mine. I don't have another job so I can't claim that one, but I make up for it with procrastination. Definitely the hardest thing for me. I also don't manage my time well. I'm a two speed kind of person. One hundred miles per hour and stop. Nothing in between. That's something I really need to work on. Especially as deadlines approach, I'll have to force myself to work, not from motivation, but from need.

Anita Clenney said...

Email and internet is a huge drain on my time. Have to learn to manage it.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I have a hard time getting on a roll, but once I do, I have a hard time getting "off" it :-)

Soooooo Internet and email are really making me procrastinate these days. Ugh. No time for procrastination.

And I've always been one to need some kind of excuse or deadline or pressure to make me kick it in gear.

Liz Lipperman said...

You have definitely been reading my mail, Kris. I am guilty of all of these. I have this horrible feeling of waking up and someone saying, "Surprise, we were just kidding about the book deal." It's almost like now that I finally got it, I'm trying everything in my power to sabotage myself. Poor Christine didn't sign up for all the coaching she's had to do.

When did I get so needy?

My favorite line is, "Why didn't they buy something I already wrote?" but even then I would still be worried if they liked it or not. I'm convinced writers are a confident bunch of dependent women... until it comes to their own writing.

Now I have to quit procrastinating and get back to my writing!!!

Unknown said...

Anita~ I feel the same as you; 100mph or dead stop. It's all or nothing with me sometimes. I need to learn to curb that and say, "Just write" even when it's not one of my designated "writing" days.

Kari~ UGH! I think the creators of email and the internet were closet procrastinators! They created these things not to swap information back and forth, but to give the rest of the world more things to keep them from doing their work!

Liz~ You aren't going to wake up and find anything other than what you've accomplished! I think writers need to be their own cheerleaders. But that is soo hard. My theory: if they (publishers) buy it, then it MUST be good. : )