Sunday, September 23, 2012

Procrastinating is the thing

Yep...that's what I'm up to this week

Focus-- It has been difficult to focus these last couple of weeks. Be it unstable family issues, a trip to a library that resulted in borrowing more books then necessary, or changes at work that is leaving us a person down for the last two months and will continue until at least mid-October. In short, I have had other things on my mind. AND it doesn't help that any time I sit down to write I end up making a to-do list and brainstorming for the blog. Not to say that the research or blogs or other websites, school programs, and ear tagging other authors, editors, agencies, and trying like crazy to think of a discussion question for the facebook forum aren't important. Maybe at this point less is more. Maybe I need to take a step back instead of throwing myself completely into this writing world.
I've been thinking on my novel-- less thinking and more writing is needed. I've started questioning the pacing-- perhaps starting in another place and lengthening the time between the scenes I already have written down. Maybe I should write it slower, having scenes that introduce the politics of the world. The worse part is that I still don't know what happens after I get all my characters in one spot, let alone what the ending should be. I'm even questioning if I should write a fantasy novel since I haven't read the genre in awhile.
Maybe putting aside the creative writing is my next step. Maybe I'm at the gathering stage where random prompts are key and not trying to write anything more. Yet writing on random prompts really is the only thing I've written on in six years (minus two NaNoWriMo attempts). And frankly I'm tired of that state; I want to finish and craft something.

so this is the small goal for my week- set up writing nights two times a week. This will make me focus on just the creative writing.
Natalie Goldberg's advice on giving yourself a nudge on your writing.
…I will tell you a few tricks I have done in the past to nudge me along:

1. I haven’t written anything in a while. I call a writing friend and make a date with her to meet in a week and go over our work. I have to write something to show her.

2. I teach writing groups and have to do the assignments I give the class. I didn’t wait for years of writing before I began to teach writing. I was living in Taos, and there were few writers there ten years ago. I needed writing friends, so I began women’s writing group. In teaching them, I learned to write. Baba Hari Dass, an Indian yogi, says: “Teach in order to learn.”

3. I’ll wake up in the morning and say, “Okay, Natalie, you have until ten A.M. to do whatever you want. At ten you must have your hand on the pen.” I give myself some space and an outside limit.

4. I wake up in the morning, and without thinking, washing, talking to anyone, I go right to my desk and begin writing.

5. These past two months I have been teaching all day, five days a week. I come home very tired and resistant to writing. There is a wonderful croissant place three blocks from my house that makes the best homemade chocolate-chip cookies for thirty cents. They also let you sit there and write forever. About an hour after I am home from work I say to myself,“Okay, Natalie, if you go to the Croissant Express and write for an hour, you can have two chocolates.” I am usually out the door within fifteen minutes since chocolate is one of my driving forces. One problem: On Friday I had the nerve to have four cookies instead of my quota of two, but anything to get me writing. Usually, once I’m in the midst of actually writing, it’s its own greatest reward.

6. I try to fill a notebook a month. There’s no quota on quality, just quantity—a full notebook, no matter what garbage I write. If it is the 25th of the month and I have only filled five pages and there are seventy more to fill by the end of the month, I have a lot of writing ahead of me in the next five days.
Excerpt from Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Boston: Shambhala, 1986


  1. I don't know that I could fill a notebook - I'm such a slave to the computer keyboard that I have a hard time writing little journal entries by hand and little post card messages by hand. And onto what you were saying earlier... I have a thought and it's one that is prompted by Goldberg herself - maybe instead of thinking of pulling back and withdrawing from the creative writing you need to go on a total binge! Maybe you need to rent a fantasy film, drink a bottle of wine, meet up some nerdy friends or even just talk to some on the phone and talk about all the things you love in the genre and then spend the next day just going at it. It's hard because you have work all day and then other responsibilities in the evening. So maybe try this on a day you have off or spend your lunch break at work getting geared up and then dive into it hard core the second you get home. Put a sign on your door that says - unavailable but for emergencies - and then just do it. Don't worry about the ending and the plot stuff after the characters all meet up. Just write. Have fun! And after that day of writing (or several to get you over the hump) you can call me up or we can organize something on the FB forum and you can shoot ideas out and people can help you brainstorm. That's my thought on the matter. It all comes down to doing what you need to do and if this is important to you (and it is) then you just need to dive in without an air tank and swim down as far as your lungs will let you.

  2. Done! taking next Wed off (yes to avoid the traffic jam after work because of the debates down town) to deicate to the novel attempt. lets see if this does helps.