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Focusing on Writing: it’s all about willpower

I’ve been struggling this month with focusing on my writing…more than just this blog that is. Part of the problem is that I am currently in the “creating a plot” phase. I’m not one of those writers who can jump in and start writing with the prayer that a plot develops—although, I used to be. I am also not a brainstorm person in the sense that I don’t sit down and map out ideas. I have seen some great “bubble” maps and been to a lot of workshops that try to teach the practice, but it never really sticks for me. Sometimes I have breakthroughs, but I find if I force something then it either comes out stifled or I end up replacing the idea later as time develops the story. 

For me, I have to know my beginning and my ending. Then I dive in and map the middle as I write. It seems chaotic, I know, and I probably couldn’t teach it very well in a writing class, but it has worked for me for five books now. Since I don’t brainstorm, I typically sit and think a lot about the story. I read a lot and let ideas surface. Yet, I have to be careful because this can turn into a gap where there is no creativity at all. I started thinking about if I should go back to the mandatory writing period every day.

My problem is that writing every day is really hard for me. It requires me to get up a little after 4am every morning. It takes me most of the time to wake up and get my brain working and then the time is up. I don’t like the stop-and-go nature of this type of writing. I know it works for a lot, but not for me. I read a blog that said to do a schedule in a different manner. Write for a longer period once a week. This sounds awesome. For someone who is routine oriented like myself, I would think the latter idea would work. However, the time I would choose comes on the weekend. This time then gets interrupted by things that pop up. 

It’s all about balance and priorities. If writing is not a priority, then it doesn’t get done. I think that is true for the initial stages as well. If there is too much going on in my mind that is taking priority, then contemplating a novel is not present. Although, the alternative gives me the picture of the “think tank” where people sit and think. Should I schedule time to just sit in a room and meditate on my work? That seems silly. But, scheduling time to think about writing, or to actually write, is important. I saw a quote on Facebook this weekend that made me smile: don’t say I’m a writer. Say, I’m writing. Those words are so true. Be active.

How do you make time for things you love to do?