Thursday, January 08, 2009

Somebody inspire me

I have a little-post Christmas problem. No, not that one. I thought nobody knew about that one? BT, if you dare google it...

I just can't glue my ass back in the writing seat! I managed to churn out some web copy for a client at the start of the week (the stuff that pays) and I thought that might kick start me, but it hasn't. I'm still messing around with kids - it's their summer holiday for the whole month of January, but they are normally fairly forgiving if I sneak upstairs for an hour or two - but somehow I can't get myself to actually do it.

I'm not short on ideas; I've got two short stories simmering, something that needs editing and the famous Woman is still firmly stuck in her Wall at around 25,000 words. I did reread those 25,000 just before Christmas and I'm really happy with them. I even know where she's going (nowhere for a while, but just wait...). The something that needs editing is actually already two thirds done, but I know the last bit would be the hard bit. One of the short stories is completely written in my head and is probably sellable. The other is not quite so written in my head, but is probably even more sellable. And then there's the Clarity of Night comp, which would be fun to do, and I even have an idea for.

All fun things that I even WANT to do. Just can't get myself of the post-Christmas butt to do it. I know you guys are good at butt kicking. Please, please, please kick mine, or for the more polite among you (I know who you are. Sarah.) suggest where I might start.


Anonymous said...

THIS is why I'm holding a 2009 challenge!!!!! Come join!

BBJD said...

I know I'm not someone you know well, and my qualifications are actually quite pitiful compared to yours, but sometimes that can be the perfect catalyst. ("And a little child shall lead them.")

In keeping with the "childlike" thinking, is it possible for you to step back and relook at your unfinished work and see it as something completely brand new? Pick it up like a child with her new Christmas toys (to defeat your post-Christmas blues) and want to play just all the time.

If you can convince yourself it's actually playing, and not work, perhaps the child in you will get excited and make you get back at it.

It's just an idea. Probably a stupid one. But if you do try it - and it works - let me know how you went about it so I can do the same thing to myself when the blahs strike me (like - tomorrow, maybe).


Robin S. said...

I can't help you here, as I'm currently finding every damn reason in the world not to plant my own ass...

Right now, for example, and I do mean RIGHT NOW, I'm supposed to be writing a key scene in the last chapter I'm working through. But I'm hanging out instead.

Fear of failure? I dunno.

blogless troll said...

Well you practically dared me, didn't you?

According to Google, if you were Italian, your post-Christmas problem would be "Now what do we do with all these panettoni???"

jjdebenedictis said...

Did you know that if you Google the phrase "post-Christmas problem" (with quotes), this blog post is the sixth hit?

I still don't know what you were referring to, mind you.

I've been having trouble settling to writing for a while. The best solution I've found is simply forcing myself to do it, usually by getting up at some horrible hour of the morning.

I don't know--we could egg each other on, maybe? How about if I write 300 words tomorrow, I'll come over here and tell you, and then you have to write 300 words too. Deal?

Whirlochre said...

Make yourself a hat out of crepe paper.

Daub your face in lippy and other whatnot (stage makeup if you have it).

Stand in front of the mirror.

Speak in tongues till your character has a voice it likes.

Sit down at the computer and roll a die.


1) A love letter
2) Something mysterious
3) Anything p88 of the nearest book inspires you to think
4) Anything beginning 'The day I...'
5) What you smell in the nearest book/drawer/flowerpot/kangaroo
6) With cheese in your heart

david mcmahon said...

G;day from across the Murray. Just sprinkle your desk with gum leaves. That'll get ya back in the writing seat.

Trust me.

I know a thing or two about writing!!

spyscribbler said...

Some days, I just have to focus on getting my ass in chair, and if that's all I do, if I don't even write, then that's an improvement. Somed ays I just focus on getting 100 words done. After a few days, I'm back in the groove.

Some days, my mind just sort of goes on strike. It's tired, I'm beat, and everyone else has a day off... I should too! And then I spoil what could be a great day off by feeling guilty AND not getting anything done.

That's just me, though. If you want to hang out with the kids, do it without guilt! Just write a quick 100 words and then give yourself permission to enjoy the day, or something! After a few days, you'll probably get inspired and start writing more. If not, no guilt!

Stuart Neville said...

It's been difficult here, too. It seems every time I get some momentum going, something else comes along (like copy-edits this week) that knocks me out of my stride, and it's a real struggle to get it back.

All I can say is, keep plugging away, even if it's just a little at a time.

pjd said...

Two things help me stop procrastinating, unless I'm really in a procrastination groove.

First, this song. And I thought of it before I read Robin's comment. Really.

Second, a story: A friend asked me if he should pursue an advanced degree that he really wanted. "But," he lamented, "It'll take me five years and by then I'll be 35." (This was many years ago.) My reply: "In five years you'll be 35 anyway. Wouldn't you rather have that degree than not?"

McKoala said...

Oooh, thanks all. There are some seriously good suggestions here.

Aerin, I am pretty sure I will.

Bevie, I don't think there are any qualifications for writing, and I'm not sure what mine are! You're right, I think I need to recover my joy in actually writing, not just having ideas (plenty of those!).

Empathy is good, Robin.

BT, step back from the Google window.

jjdegoblin, lol, fame at last! (Are the first five pannettoni? I refuse to google any more suggestions from BT, but that doesn't stop me persuading others to do it for me...) You know, I like the egging on idea. And 300 words sounds manageable as a minimum. 'Bite-sized chunks', as they say.

Whirl, I think some of those are doable...but #4 'The day I did something Whirl suggested' could be colourful.

David, g'day! Can I scatter the gum leaves over the mess on my desk or do I have to tidy it first?! (Uh oh, am I looking for more procrastination...)

Spy, you've completely nailed it in your middle para there. I slacked off both fiction and copywriting a few days before Christmas - because I should have a holiday, too. Except, now I've extended my days off into weeks...

I have a definite loss of momentum, Stuart. But at least I'm having fun with the kids, not sweating over typos!

OK, I'm going to package these comments into an action plan.


Actually, that's not a joke. BBQ at our place today, third in a row. Baked whole snapper with lemon sauce today, yum, makes a change from sausages!

But I will be back. I will write again!

McKoala said...

omg Van Halen alert!

Actually, the words are kind of appropriate. Must get going.

Robin S. said...

Hey, cool, Pete!

pacatrue said...

I have a lot of great ideas for ending procrastination. Um, I'll get back to you with them tomorrow some time....

Sarah Laurenson said...

Having the same problem here. So this is what I've done so far.

Clean off my desk. Now there's a mess on another piece of furniture since I just piled it all there, but it's behind me and I don't see it. At least I don't while I'm facing my computer screen.

Open the manuscript and look at it. Look at different pages. Look at the last page and see where I left off.

Take a shower. Get brilliant ideas in the shower. Write lots of dialogue and paragraphs in my head.

Get back to the computer with some idea of the direction to go. Write a paragraph. Stare at it and sigh. A lot. Write another paragraph. Get a litle momentum going.

The dog jumps in my lap and curls up with his head on one arm. Type one handed.

Get e-mail. Open the e-mail and get sidetracked for awhile. Turn on the TV and sit petting the dog while watching something I've already seen.

Turn off the TV and type some more. Dog has gotten down, so I have two handed typing now. Finish a chapter (short one). Re-read and edit the chapter a bit. Check word count. Get depressed that this book is never ending and is now 150% of what I had thought it would be. And there's still a lot more to write - this weekend.

Realize deadline is approaching quickly and a lot more to do. Get even more depressed.

Give up for the day and go lie on the couch and watch TV.

Get up the next day with the determination to write. Do EE's exercise. It's writing, but not in my WIP. Wife wakes up. Spend time talking to her. Read and answer blogs I haven't been to in awhile.

Sigh some more.

Immediate future plans - walk dog, eat breakfast and write, damn it!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Oh and my suggestion - When I'm not trying to write to a deadline, I sometimes take a bit of time off to read. Give myself a mini-vacation from producing and study how someone else writes and gets published.