Wince. That bad, huh?
Just kidding. I have no way of telling if you’re being faithful to your plans and resolutions or if you’re slacking off, but I can tell you a few things I learned from a diet I started this year.
- Beginning is easy. Staying the course is hard.
- If there’s a way to cheat and convince myself I’m not cheating I’ll find it.
- You always feel better when you do what you say you’re going to do.
Beginning is easy. We get a great idea for a story, and we can’t wait to get to our computer. The words pour out of us. We are genius. We are Hemmingway. We are going to get rich. Two chapters come to us as if we’re seeing a movie, then the weekend comes. Or we can’t write one night because one of the kids is sick, or we suddenly can’t figure out what should happen in chapter three …
And that’s when we start sneaking a cupcake one bite at a time! Or, in writing terms, we turn on the computer, flip to the internet, read our Facebook updates, Tweet a bit about how hard writing is and then, boom, our writing time is over. And we’re not sure how it happened. But we don’t feel too badly. After all, we were PROMOTING. Isn’t that the whole purpose of Facebook? Sure it is. We did not just waste our writing time; we promoted.
But two weeks later, when we’ve only got another few pages added to our magnificent beginning and we want to scrub the whole idea and start on something else, a little honesty angel sits on our shoulder and tells us another idea won’t help. We are in writing trouble because we procrastinate.
So then, we feel bad. Actually, we feel awful. And we make a pledge. This week, as Scarlett O’Hara is my witness, I am writing. Monday, we sit down at our desk. We pull our document up on screen. We read what we have. We tinker a bit … some nice superficial editing to make it wonderful. We get to that darned chapter three, and we’re stuck again.
Right about here, panic sets in. We doubt the story. We doubt ourselves. We wonder how or why we ever thought we could write a book (Or another book. Multi-published authors go through this too!) And what do we do? We seek solace on the Internet. The very demon that got us into trouble in the first place.
Okay. Some of you are sitting staring at this blog wide-eyed, saying…Wow, that’s me. You may have even leaned forward hoping I’ll tell you how to fix this mess.
I may not be able to fix your problem exactly, but I can tell you that we sometimes can’t pull ourselves out our procrastination dilemma because it’s not a singular problem. If it were just a matter of disciplining yourself, you could do it.
Procrastination is usually a one-two punch of stuff happening inside our heads and a rough patch in our story. Which means you have to hit back with your own one-two punch. When the procrastination demon sits on your shoulder and tells you it’s okay to play spider solitaire, you have to say, “No, it isn’t.” To make that stick, you have to remind yourself of why you write. What do you want to tell the world? Are there goals you want to accomplish? Dreams you’re trying to fulfill? Write them down! Print them on a sheet of paper and hang that paper above your computer screen.
But that’s only half the deal. If you’re seriously procrastinating, nine chances out of ten there’s something wrong with your story. The quickest way to get to the bottom of story troubles is to write a one-paragraph story summary.
What’s a one-paragraph story summary?
Just your protagonists, what they want, their conflicts to getting what they want, how they try to get it, how they ultimately have to grow to achieve their dreams, and how they have a happy ending.
Write out your story that succinctly, and you’ll easily see where you’re going wrong. Maybe you don’t have enough conflict. Maybe you don’t have enough external story? Or maybe you haven’t yet figured out how they have to grow?
Once you figure out your story AND have a nice list of WHY you want to write this book, or be a published author, or succeed as an author, you’ll be able to give procrastination a one-two punch of your own!
Writing a book isn’t just about having a great idea and talent. You also need some mental tricks up your sleeve to discipline yourself to keep your butt in the chair! To hear more about pulling crafting and psychology together to accomplish your 2013 writing goals, join me for MAKE THIS THE YEAR YOU WRITE THAT BOOK! (March 2013 through Savvy Authors!)
A one-time legal secretary and director of a charitable foundation, Susan Meier found her bliss when she became a full-time novelist for Harlequin. She’s visited ski lodges and candy factories for “research” and works in her pajamas.
But the real joy of her job is creating stories about women for women. In her 50-plus published novels, she tackles issues like infertility, losing a child and becoming widowed with sensitivity and humor.
Her books have finaled for and won many contests including Reader’s Choice Awards, Golden Leaf, More Than Magic, Cataromance and RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards.
Her 2012 releases, THE TYCOON’S SECRET DAUGHTER and NANNY FOR THE MILLIONAIRE’S TWINS won critical acclaim. Her 2013 releases include the final book of the Larkville Continuity for Harlequin Romance, BILLIONAIRE BABY SOS, plus, A FATHER FOR HER TRIPLETS and sequel THE FAMILY CHRISTMAS SHE ALWAYS WANTED and an anthology for Entangled publishing with friends Shirley Jump, Barbara Wallace and Jackie Braun.
Her popular website has recipes, workshops for writers and short stories featuring the characters in previous books. Her Monday morning blog post Dear Writers shares tricks and tips and how to make your manuscript the best it can be.
Successful CEO Matt Patterson isn't called the Ice Man for nothing—he's built up his multibillion-dollar company through cool decision-making and a ruthless reputation. But now he has a new challenge to face—fatherhood!
Finding himself guardian to gorgeous baby Bella, Matt's more comfortable in the boardroom than changing a diaper. Lucky, then, that social worker Claire Kincaid agrees to play temporary mom. Happy families might never have been in Matt's plans, but Claire and little Bella are opening his eyes to a life that money could never buy…