I'm struggling with finishing Draft 5 of TUBE. I've been writing it for over a year now, and new stories are crowding it out of my mind, but every day I get up and I know I have to finish it. It's an important story—for me and for you—and so it's important I do a good job. But man, how do I love procrastinating on it, and how hard it is to get myself in gear! Once I start, I forget my fears, and it's easy. Starting is the hard part. So I came up with four ways to trick myself into writing it every morning. I know I'm not alone. Lots of times you told me how you have to kick yourself in the ass, hard, to get yourself to work on that manuscript that you rewrote so many times, it makes you want to vomit. Well then, here is how I trick my brain into TUBE. See if you can steal some ideas for yourself, and share yours, and send bags of coffee (to my new PO Box, so it wouldn't feel empty and lonely!).
Also, changes are coming. I'll start sending out my newsletter again, monthly, and if you subscribe to it, every month you can win a free book of mine—a book of your choice! But shhh, don't tell anyone yet. I'm starting it in June. Though of course if you sign up now, I'll add you to the June winner-picking-roster thingy. Just because I'm that nice.
Anyway. Back to the topic. The four tricks.
1. Reading your favorite writing advice.
Before I start writing in the morning, I give myself one hour of reading—30 minutes of that hour goes to reading my favorite book on writing advice. We all have those. My current one is Story by Robert McKee. I set the timer for 30 minutes and dive in. Usually by the end of the 30 minutes I'm so pumped, I don't need the second trick. On days I'm not as pumped, I do the second trick. And that is...
2. Reading your favorite fiction authors—short stories.
I have a stack of three books on my desk, all collections of short stories by authors whose writing style makes me want to sing, it's that good. At the moment it's stories by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya (There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In), Marina Sonkina (Lucia's Eyes and Other Stories), and Aimee Bender (Willful Creatures). I set the timer for another 30 minutes and dive in. I read about one story in 10 minutes, one by each author, and then the mix of their stories in my head fires me up to write too. And I gleefully start! But! Imagine. There are sometimes days when even THAT doesn't work. Then I do trick number three.
3. Highlighting the previous scene's plot parts with different colors.
I usually do this as I write in Scrivener (red for the line where the characters state their scene goals; pink for when they repeat it; light blue for inciting incident, complications, crisis, climax; bight blue for the turning point; gray for resolution/disaster; yellow for sequel; orange for transition). I reread the scene I wrote the day before and highlight all the parts, and it tricks me into two things: 1) it's fun and I feel like I'm back in elementary school and want to do more of this silly coloring things, and 2) it gets me back inside the story. Usually at this point I start writing the next scene without realizing I started!
Okay, sometimes there are really really bad days. On those days I nap. I pretend napping is writing too. After all, my brain is still working, right? Whatever. What happens is, upon waking from a nap I feel so pissed off at myself for all this time lost, and so angry, I start writing very fast, so fast, my fingers cramp from typing. And guess what. I forget in all my anger at myself that what I'm doing is writing. And presto, I am writing, and usually a lot.
That's it. These are my four tricks. There is also coffee, of course. LOTS
Share your tricks. Come on. I want to steal some. And remember to send me coffee. And sign up for the newsletter. And buy and read and review my books. And tell everyone. And also send me diamonds so we can finally get married. You know. THE WORKS. Because I love you, to death. (And after I'm dead, I'll keep loving you too. Every night. Scared yet??)