Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why can’t I get focused?

Ok, so obviously I’ve been slacking on here- Nov 10th was a wee bit longer than a week ago.

I have no excuse but pure slacker-dom! Granted it is the holiday season, and there are many things out there to tempt us easily distracted folks.

But this is more than just holidays- this is a problem.

I love to write, I even in a sick way, love to edit (more of the storyline edits than nuts and bolts grammar). But why does it sometimes seem like I lose track? I’ll be chugging along, then I finish my project of the moment and just wander off mentally. A break is good, but too long and the routine is lost.

I’d been thinking about this very subject when a wonderful author posted a link to another author discussing the same thing.
Why writers procrastinate. Logically it doesn’t make sense, we love what we do, it gives us pleasure- yet we put off doing it. Akin to loving candy but deciding reaching for that box is too much work ;).

This great blog I spoke of mentions a big part of it is that it’s far easier and safer NOT to write- to just chug along in our little cocoon and maybe think about writing. But she also mentioned how to get around it and a part that struck me was ritual.

Humans used to have lots of rituals, they helped us understand our place in life, moved us from different life stages, help us deal with grief, happiness, and just about everything. As our society changed, we lost the ritual aspect and I think that’s a sad thing.

But why not have rituals for writing? Things that we do every day when we prepare to work on our stories that help us focus and tell the mind, “This is what we’ll be doing now” without having to fight our way into it. (Or worse, don’t do it unless our muse speaks to us.)

At a conference I went to last fall Lisa Gardner mentioned she uses scent- she has a favorite candle that she lights when she writes to get focused and let the mind know this is what’s going on.

I think I need to develop some sort of rituals of my own, ones that will be both general (writing now or editing now) as well as project specific since I plan on doing more than one novel/project a year.

I’m good with the candle idea, and I will get my workspace a little more user friendly. But I need more. Do any of you have great “rituals” to get your butt in the chair and the project moving? Since I’m entering a major editing stage right now any ones specific for that will be really appreciated!


  1. I use playlists for my books and I only listen to them while I'm writing or editing that book. It seems to help me focus on the mood and the characters...

    More than that though, when I start a new book and LOVE the playlist it does encourage me to get to the computer and write! LOL

    But it's highly possible I'm just strange!

    Great blog Marie! And I know we'll both be focusing this weekend! LOL

    Lisa :)

  2. I work full time and have to meet writing deadlines, so for me, I set goals. I HAVE to have 5,000 words done each week. If I can get some done during the week before going to work or afterward, then I have less I HAVE to do on my 2 days off. Or, I can write more. And I can reward myself if I've met my goal, read a book, watch a movie, play a computer RPG, garden.

    It's like when I was a my homework, and I can play. :)

  3. Thanks Lisa and Terry :) Great ideas and comments.