What’s your biggest challenge in writing? How do you face it?

What’s your biggest challenge in writing?

For me its self discipline. Not editing, not pacing, not voice, not character development or dialogue. All those techniques I can keep improving on through courses, books, author mentors, writing sessions, and critique groups. But there seems to be no technique to apply for self discipline.

Typical day when self discipline battles the pants-on-fire-writer.

Have you had this kind of day?
Finally – a whole day at home to write…
That’s six glorious writing hours before school pick up time.
Writing goal for day 2,000 words.
Sit and stare at new chapter’s empty page.
250 words. Ack.
Let me just check twitter, face book and email.
Oooh, great article on this and that blog I need to share.
Need to post comments on this or that blog by author friends.

Listen up! Just write, will ya?

Listen up and just get writing!
750 words.
Hungry, yogurt time and twitter, face book and email again.
Where did 3 hours go?
Stuck on scene. A walk always frees my thoughts and resolves a scene.
Walk helped! Writing ahoy!
Lunch time. Would a beer help? maybe…
Stare at screen.
Re-read what I wrote.
Something not working right. How to continue then?
Need some research. Ahh that helped. Back at it.
1000 words.
OMG – only 2 hours left!

When alone it's okay to scream

Stuck again. Need a visual. Draw out dystopian world in book on paper.
Now fired up.
Write write write.
1,500 words.
Stuck again. What was I thinking?  Who are these characters? And who cares?
This book sucks.
Pressure! Pressure!
1,700 words.
Time to go pick up son.
Defeated. Race was lost.
Want to stay home and write NOW. On a roll.
But time to punch the clock. Work day is over.
I should have gone to the damn library.
Drive to school, nose to wheel.
I suck.

Writer in angst realizes there are some jobs that may never pay.
Writer’s son who grabs new chapters, jumps up and down and says it’s the best story ever.

Hope reigns another day – until tomorrow when empty pages loom again. But then my son comes home eager to get his hands on new chapters and all is well, for now.

Have you figured out under what conditions you write best AND how to make that happen?

I discovered, for me, that to write with dedication and commitment on a regular basis I must build a schedule that empowers me to write. I also discovered that I write better under pressure and without distraction. No music. No noise. No people. Otherwise forgeddaboutit. I envy writers who can travel around to coffee shops with their iPod and write for hours.

ME: I am a morning person. I like total quiet. I write best under pressure.

WRITING TIME SHORT: Set alarm for 5AM. 1.5 hours of solid, quiet writing time. Clock is ticking. Under pressure before the house wakes up, lunches to be made, paycheck work to go to.

ALL DAY WRITING TIME: Leave the house with laptop and all research materials. Find quiet library and hunker down. Turn off wireless connection on computer and keep it off. No email. No twitter. No FB. Bring ear plugs in case of screaming kids.

What works for you?

Share it here! We need all the help we can get to get those words on paper.

My champion

Off to face another empty page. But then my son makes it all better. Thanks, Josh. You rock as my champion.



Filed under Comic Relief, Writing Resources

6 responses to “What’s your biggest challenge in writing? How do you face it?

  1. My big problem is TIME. I have one child. One measley little 18-month-old child. And yet I have no time. When she is awake, there is no way I can write–not with chasing her around to take things our of her mouth, or stop her climbing too high on the furniture, or with her constantly coming to me with books and toys to play with. I love it, but sometimes I just WANT TO WRITE!!

    So my solution is to write during her nap (forget housework, right?) and sometimes after she goes to bed (I do have to talk to my husband SOMETIME, you know!). I am definitely not a morning person – the very thought of getting up at 5 am makes me tired. And every once and a while, my wonderful husband takes her off my hands during the weekend and I can get some extra writing time.

    In a perfect world I would write way into the night – I am a complete night owl. But for now I have to grab time when I can, and do my best!

  2. Hi Kerry, Oh I dont know how you write being home with an 18 mos old at all! I didnt get serious until my son was 5. School has been a blessing. I dread the summer 😉

    But you have written a beautiful book, which many cannot say at all 🙂

  3. Have you been stalking me? Because you wrote my day out perfectly!!! I shall hang my head in shame and go write now!! 🙂

  4. Randi

    That’s how I feel at work all the time. Never enough time to write something good, so you may as well just write something. Right? Wrong! I think I’d rather write 1,700 good words than 2,000 just because the clock is ticking. So, next time you feel down because you didn’t meet your goal, make sure you have a second goal in mind.

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