Resistance is one of the hardest things to overcome when you’re trying to write a book. Everyone says just put your ass in the chair and write. Just do it. But how often do you find yourself in the chair with no idea what to write? Even if you have an outline and know you’re supposed to write the resolution of the beginning hook you don't know what or how to go about it. Ambiguity is one of the other things you need to overcome as a writer to get that book out into the world.
So how do you beat resistance and ambiguity, put your butt in the chair, and write the damn book?
Planning your scenes ahead of time. I’m always writing. Even when I’m not at the computer and there’s no pen or paper in sight. Even when I’m washing dishes or folding laundry, scenes and scenarios are running through my head. I always found this fun and entertaining and it kept me in a good place as far as that story was concerned. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking a lot about burnout. Mostly because I’m getting really burnt out. I’m being pulled in too many directions both personally and professionally and I feel like I’m starting to lose my mind. Lucky for you that usually means a helpful post.
As I’ve been struggling with life, I’ve had less and less time to think about my writing projects. I listen to podcasts when I wash the dishes and listen to online lectures in the shower. Then I focus on putting it all into practice. I’m so tired I can’t pry my eyes open before 7 am despite having multiple alarms.
What I’ve learned from all this though, is how precious that seemingly wasted time was to my writing. When I do sit down lately, I never know what to work on or where to begin a scene. My writing is slow and clunky. To fix the problem and get back to productive me, I’ve dedicated time during dishes and some of my showers to just think about the upcoming scenes and work through plot knots in my head. And sure enough, I woke up at my normal early time (5 am) ready to write and felt less stressed all day because I was able to crank out a chapter I’d been struggling with before even getting out of bed. The best part? Because I got my fiction writing out of the way first thing in the morning, I felt better about working on nonfiction and administration things throughout the day.
By making this one small change, I’ve set off a ripple effect in my life and I couldn’t be happier. I feel like I’m back on track and burnout is looking like a thing of the past.
So my advice to you is, dedicate a bit of time to just run through scenes in your head before you sit down at the keyboard. Maybe during your morning commute or when you take the dog or baby for a walk. Just pick a scene and go through it until you’ve worked out all the wrinkles. Then see what happens when you sit down to actually get it out of your head and onto the computer. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. What helps you be the most productive?
The writing Process
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