Monday, July 11, 2011

Procrastination and Kamikaze bugs...

Ever wonder why heat from the grill turns bugs into Kamikazis? Or why after a rainstorm all the frogs turn suicidal, head for wet pavement and take aim at your wheels just as you drive by. {Squish!}

I'm not nuts, truly. These are just things that pop into my head when I'm trying to avoid writing...or wrestling with a scene. It's either that or clean the bathroom but since I have to do that anyway, it's not very inspiring. What? Bugs aren't inspiring? Well, you're right. They're not. It's pretty sad that my mind wonders to bugs and reptiles as a way to procrastinate. And there are other more interesting things. But since I live in the woods and can't really avoid the mosquito that seem to want to feast on my ankles every time I walk out the door, my mind is on bugs. I think it's normal. You can decide for yourself.

I'm happy to say though that I haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking of bugs or frogs. These days I've been pretty focused on writing. Came back from NYC last week after meeting with my agent and my editor and was jazzed to get back to writing my proposal, which I'm happy to say is done and sent off to my agent. Soon it should be making its way to my editor's desk which should (fingers crossed) result in a sale.

But I have had my share of bouts with procrastination. When it strikes, it's usually because I dont' know enough about my story, or I'm trying to take the characters down a path they don't want to go. They're not real you say? True. I'm not insane. I know they're my imaginary friends. BUT...and this is a big but...while I'm writing the story they'd BETTER be real to me. If they're not and I don't feel their wants and needs and goals and the heartache of their setbacks, my words fall flat. And that's the last thing I want.

I have a list of things to do aside from cleaning and thinking about bugs when I get to a point where I'm stuck.

1.) I pull out index cards and write down all the scenes that I've written and still have to write. (That is if I haven't done it in the pre-writing phase.) I can either find a hole in the story or something that doesn't belong there at all.
2.) I brainstorm with a friend. Sometimes when I get too close to a story, I can't see the forest through the trees. A fresh set of eyes can zero in on the problem.
3.) I change my writing space. No, I don't mean rearrange the furniture. I mean take my laptop and get myself out of my writing space to a cafe, the porch, the kitchen table or any other place where I won't be interupted by noise I need to take care of. When I go to a noisy restaurant to type, I truly don't hear anything. It's not my noise. When I'm home, all that noise is mine to deal with. So the change of writing space sometimes helps.
4.) Write in short bursts. I may be overwhelmed with knowing I have to write for an hour. But telling myself I only have to write for 20 minutes, giving myself a start time and an end time usually gets my juices flowing enough to write. More times than not I got way past the 20 minutes. But just committing to the twenty minutes usually keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

What do you do to bust proscrastination?

Blessings, Lisa

Listening to: The English Beat - Save it for Later

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