Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Five Ways to Get Your Second Wind

If you read my post last week, you may think this is another attack on the weather. It isn’t. I’m over my weary-dreary whiny spell. For now.

Hitting a Wall
We all have those areas out of our control that seem to hold us hostage from time to time. For me it’s gloomy weather. I know I am not alone. I have a friend whose productivity is hindered by the month of February. Turn the calendar to March and he’s back to his old self.

I also know it is not the weather alone that creates barriers in our writing. One author I know told me she has to “dress for work” every morning or she’ll never make it to her home office to write.

Circumstances that thwart writing productivity differ for each of us.

How do you identify your personal barriers? For me, analyzing my personal diary revealed to me I shouldn’t make big decisions late at night. I also learned I run on solar energy. Dreary, rainy days hamper my productivity.

Breaking Through
So how do authors break through these walls? Leap stacks of manuscripts in a single bound?

There are articles all over the internet telling you how to stay focused, motivated, and interested in your writing. I don’t think there is one right answer. You have to experiment. See what works for you. Here are my five tips to add to the mix.

1.     Keep writing. At the beginning of each project, I map a plan for completion. Each week, I write my week’s plan for writing. When I come up against a barrier, I stick to my writing plan. I may not keep everything I write, but pressing on gets me back on track.  

2.     Tell someone about your story. I know, I know. “Some people write, others talk about it.” That’s not what I’m talking about here. When I hit a wall with my story or something outside of my control causes me to lose focus, I have found talking with someone about my story renews my interest in it. I am blessed to have a few people close to me who are good listeners and true encouragers.

3.     Take a break from the computer. The computer is a wonderful tool. Sometimes, however, I think it drains me. Especially if I allow myself to get involved in social media accounts or games. I enjoy both, but I need to make sure I’m not using them to escape my writing objectives. Sometimes I need time away form the glaring screen as well. Taking a break from the computer gives me time to mull over my next scene or rethink dialogue. In this case, getting away from my writing screen serves to help me get back to my writing.

4.    Get physical. I don’t care if it is something fun like golfing with my husband or something as mundane as running the vacuum cleaner, doing something physical helps me regain energy and focus for my writing. (Maybe my brain needs a burst of fresh oxygen!)

5.    Read. An old adage in education states, “Good readers make good writers and good writers make good readers.” There is truth in this. When I’m not in the middle of a writing project, I read around three novels a week. When I am in writing mode, it can be hard to find time to enjoy the works of other authors. Yet, I learn so much from them. Walking through the pages of a good book can be better than a weeklong writing course. And I don’t just read novels. There are a number of great books to push a writer along in structuring a solid plot or strengthening characters. Reading books about writing can infuse life into my current project.

What barriers do you encounter?  What strategies do you use to push through them?
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