Today’s post was inspired by a question asked on the facebook page of O.C. Writers. Yesterday, Ryan Stansifer asked the group, “When the rest of your life has drained you so badly the mere thought of writing is exhausting, what do you do to get those word counts done?”
It’s a simple question, but I had to seriously think about it. Not being able to get words on paper isn’t usually a problem for me, but as I told you a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been separated from my manuscript for so long, that I’ve had trouble getting back in touch with my characters.
Some writer’s take a break from their manuscript, and when you have been living in your book for too long, a break from your work can give you a fresh perspective. I’ve done this before, but this time…..a break is what caused the problem.
Writer’s with a deadline (or very disciplined writers) often force themselves to put their butt in their chair and put down a certain number of words. This is a great technique, sometimes it results in pages of ‘junk’, but even that can get you back in the flow, and you can always go back and cut or edit what you don’t like later.
One writer suggested working on a new project, a short story to get your creative juices flowing again and give you the satisfaction of completing something. I haven’t tried this technique yet, I never let myself stray from the project I’m on until it’s completed. I’m always afraid I won’t come back to finish. This could be the best advice for me, just because I’ve resisted it. You guys will make sure I finish my current novel if I go this way won’t you?
What I usually do, and this was the advice I shared with O.C. Writers, is read a good book. Preferably, one written by an author that I know personally. A good book always inspires me and makes me want to write. When it’s someone I know, it makes the possibility of having my own book published more real, more attainable, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have met some inspiring writers and have some great mentors on this journey.
But there is one thing I haven’t done, that just makes sense. I haven’t read my own manuscript through from cover to cover like a reader. I
thought this would be the first thing I did when I got back to work on my book, but the minute I picked up the manuscript I started line editing. Not my intent, but my reflex, I had to edit.
So, my goal today and tomorrow is to read my manuscript like a reader, not a writer. I’m going to download it to my kindle, so that I’m not tempted to edit, and read what I’ve written from cover to cover. I’ll let you know next Wednesday how this worked out.
Thank you Ryan Stansifer for asking the question, and O.C. Writers for all of the inspiration.
What do you do when you need a gentle push….or swift kick….to get yourself back on track?