Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Point in Your Novel You Realize You Should Be a Baseball Star

Sometimes we have to write even when we don’t want to. We drag ourselves to the computer and plunk our fingers in an order that makes no sense (at the time) into words on the screen.

I usually hit this period right about the middle of my  novel. Where is my story going? Do I even still want to be writing? Why didn’t I pick something easier to do like pitching baseballs in the major leagues?

But it would probably be safer for all involved if I stuck with my writing and torturing my characters, because I’ve got terrible hand-eye coordination.

So what do you do when you don’t want to write anymore, have a deadline (real or self-imposed) pressing down on you and seemingly nowhere to look for those little lost words?

Writing sprints

Don’t you dare open up Facebook or emails, set the timer for 15 minutes and write as fast as you can. Don’t think hard about what you are writing, just write.

Find an accountability partner

Fellow Alley Cat Julia and I write three days a week together and for that hour, we write. And in that hour, our goal is to reach 1,000 words, but if we happen to hit that goal early, we don’t stop…We. Keep. Going. In doing that, I challenged myself to not settle for “just good enough” and realize just how much I could get done.

Little rewards

Write a hundred words, answer an email. Write another hundred, stand up and stretch. Etc.

Don’t just focus on what is “wrong”

Don’t let the defeatist attitude attack you. Yes, you have hit a block that is making your progress slow, but the longer you sit at that computer and stare at the words, the worse it is going to get. And the harder it will be for you to write again tomorrow. Don’t settle. Don’t.


I don’t know about you, but I work better when I know I have to reach a goal in a certain amount of time. I’m very Type-A and I need to reach a goal to make me feel as though I have actually accomplished something worthwhile. Whether you give yourself an hour deadline of a thousand words, or a fifteen minute deadline of two hundred. Stick to it. I had a deadline to finish my novel by the end of December. I finished by December 16th. What kind of deadline power can you give yourself?

When it really comes down it to, don’t give into the lies that you can or cannot finish this section, your writing sucks or you should have been a major league pitcher (don’t be delusional, we all know this isn’t true. ;-)

It’s being willing to pull yourself up by the boot straps and forge ahead, not looking back and not listening to the voices that tell you can’t do it. Because you can. You’ve come this far, you can go the rest of the way. Push through the block, it gets better on the other side.

What suggestions do you have to move past the “no inspiration” faze?

Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town more densely populated with cows than people.


Joanne Sher said...

Can SO relate to this. THANK you, Casey!!

Casey said...

You're welcome JoAnne! I think every writer can relate. ;)

Pepper said...

Good reminder, Case!
NEEDED to hear this today.
I'm hoping that once the holidays pass, I can get back to the writing. It's been a SLLLLOOOOOOWWWWW attempt for the past 2-3 weeks (months?) ;-)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great post,Casey! I'm still working to finish up the scenes I wrote down, synopsis-like to help keep me writing through NaNo. I'm slowly finishing my story.

I've hit upon a few scenes where I realized I didn't know how to write it. I've written them the best I could, knowing I'll be coming back to them. Then, I moved on to another scene.

I've learned the beauty of just writing to get words on the page. I know I'll be going back to "make my scenes pretty" later on.

My secret: write. :) Loved your strategies and suggestions! I'm sure I'll be needing them. Setting goals with young kids at home has been tricky, but I'm trying to stick to my self-imposed goal of having my wip complete by Jan 31.

Merry Christmas!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks, Casey. Needed this today.

Casey said...

PEP, now don't you tell me months. Miss Whiz who wrote buckets of words last month!

JEANNE, yes! I'm a write who LOVES the rough draft, because I can do whatever I want with no one telling me I can't do that. ;-) You've got a good strategy. ;)

MARE, :-))

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh man, I sure needed this. With the holidays around, I haven't wanted to sit down I write. Maybe after the hustle and bustle I can settle down and get to work.