Sweeping Out the Cobwebs

For the past few weeks, both my writing and my blogging have been somewhat sporadic. I’ve fallen into, at any given time, one of two traps: the staring at the screen trap or the getting distracted trap.

Staring at the screen, most writers will tell you, is a waste of time. You’re not getting anything accomplished. Oftentimes, it’s better to just start writing whatever random crap comes to mind (kind of like I’m doing right now), with the hopes that it will start flowing and something good will come out. Typing anything is better than nothing at all. And, if it turns out that whatever you wrote really does suck, you can always cut it out later and move on. But you can never get to that point if you don’t start.

Freewriting is a good tool to use for this. Some most okay, probably all of my blog posts are written this way. I rarely have anything more than a general idea of what to write about. Sometimes, like today, I start off writing about how I don’t have anything to write about. But it gets the ideas flowing, albeit not always as effectively as my Water Muse.

I pretty much start all of my novels this way too. I just finished up some early revisions on my Rowan University master’s thesis project, aka Arcana Revived Volume Six, and I ended up completely cutting the first two chapters (somewhere around 2600 words). This is because those chapters were mostly just me thinking out loud on the page, figuring out where I was going, but not really writing anything all that interesting. I decided that the best thing to do was start the story with what was originally chapter three, since that’s the chapter where Tock and Gabby almost kill each other and some major tension starts to build up.

Getting distracted is my other main issue. Twitter can be a problem in that regard, as can Netflix. Though I think more than anything, the problem comes down to discipline. When I have a concrete goal, like writing at least 2000 words a day during NaNoWriMo, I’m better able to sit down and force myself to do it. But once I got out of the routine, it became hard to stick to a new goal, such as revising one chapter per day on Contamination. Which I should go do. Like, right now.

Do you have problems getting started? What do you do to get past them?


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6 thoughts on “Sweeping Out the Cobwebs”

  1. I have issues getting started. I fall into those same traps. I feel like my muse is a Road Muse. I’ll be driving, and a line will pop up in my head. Or sometimes, even a paragraph. That is even more frustrating because I can’t pull over and write it down, not that I have a notepad in my car anyways.

    As far as what I do to break the traps, sometimes I’ll free write in my notebook. This can be difficult when I try to remember what it was I said. (I should record myself with my phone the next time it happens.) I started listening to music whenever I feel uninspired. I think my muse appreciates it as much as the open road.

    Those are a couple of things I use. I hope you and your muse get on the same page. I’m pulling for my muse to get in sync with me. Of course, the odds of that happening are slim, at best. Good luck.

    1. Try keeping a voice recorder handy so you can dictate the notes while you’re driving. That might be the best way to save the lines without taking your eyes off the road.

  2. Discipline and getting distracted are definitely the biggest problems for me. I tend to have so much going on that I can easily forget to make time to write, which then means that by the time I remember to… it’s too late. Ugh.

    As a result, I’m kind of facing a different problem from you- my problem is literally getting started, not roadblocks to getting started- so my solution of getting time scheduled specifically to write may not be of any help. That said, I think you might benefit from setting goals and sticking to them. If it worked during NaNo, then it should work at other times, you just have to trick/convince yourself that it’s a valid goal.

    I hope that you find success with that, Jason! 🙂

  3. I get distracted aaaaaall the time. And I struggle with discipline as well. I may as well write down a writing schedule and then just crumple it up and burn it…
    But I hope you are able to get yourself on track with Contamination! Because I want to read it 😛

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