Let’s talk procrastination. (Because talking about procrastination means I’m not actively writing my WIP. See what I did there?)
And by writing, I mean writing scenes. You know. Contributing toward word count. Getting to The End.
Being a creative sort of person (as you are, too!), I can come up with all kinds of writing-related rationale for not writing my story currently in flight. Maybe some of those reasons sound familiar. If you’re not a writer, you might recognize the same sort of reasoning going on when you have to tackle a difficult project in your field or industry.
Let’s have a look!
- I don’t feel inspired.
- The plot isn’t working.
- I’m focused on fleshing out my character sketches.
- My day job is taking all my creative energy right now.
- I’ve written myself into a corner.
- I need to work on my marketing.
- I just read a published book that’s exactly like my mine! Back to the drawing board.
- My horoscope/critique group/Great Aunt Sally says I should take a break from writing this month.
- My creative well has run dry.
- I’m doing research.
- My research has totally trashed my story and now I have to rewrite 80,000 words.
- The Girls in the Basement have given me a completely different story, and it’s super-exciting!
- The Girls in the Basement aren’t speaking to me today.
- The Girls in the Basement have gone dormant.
- I just can’t get through this sagging middle.
- I have no motivation.
- I woke up late and now my best hours of the day are shot.
- I crashed early and now my best hours of the day are shot.
- Why should I bother? This book isn’t going to sell, anyway.
- I’ve lost my conflict.
- Writing sucks.
- This story sucks.
- I suck.
You can tell at a glance that some of these might resonate with you (if you write) or with different writers of your acquaintance at various times.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the story I’m telling myself is legitimate — I do burn out, work too many hours at the day job, or lose enthusiasm for the work.
But the question is, At what point does “being honest” slide into “letting myself off the hook”?
As I dive wholeheartedly, one toe in the water at a time, back into working on Evelyn, I find myself asking that question in various forms:
- Am I genuinely tired this evening or just prefer playing Stick Hero to working on the book?
- Is that brick wall I sense in my head a real obstacle or is it actually more of a habit I’ve fallen into since taking a writing burnout break?
- Am I really stuck on the major themes of the book or simply overwhelming myself to avoid doing the hard work of straightening it out?
As I inch closer to figuring out who the heroine actually is — what she wants, what she fears — I find that perhaps this process is a little easier than I thought.
When she’s a “product,” she’s hard to feel enthusiastic about. She’s just a chess piece to shove around on the page.
But when she’s someone I feel real affection for, when she feels relatable — to me as a woman — I really want to know more about her and see how she works through the story obstacles that get tossed into her path.
Maybe, just maybe, the trick is to get out of my story and back into hers.
Sandra K. Moore has been writing one thing or another since she could scribble on a Big Chief tablet. A former Silhouette Bombshell author, Sandra has given up (temporarily) the kickass heroine and is now writing from her softer side for the self-published Promise House series. This novella quartet explores the journeys of four young women finding their way — and remaining true to themselves — through the social expectations and turmoil of 1950’s Houston.