August 14, 2008

Daily Blog 14: Writing & Finishing that Book

As of this writing last night, I dreaded doing this post. Could be because I'm tired and was going out again to gather story ideas at the county fair.

The month is about half over. Yay! I've never been one to have problems coming up with ideas; it's the doing them that gets me. And blogging daily is a challenge. But it's one I'm glad I took. Will I continue it later? I'll likely do more than I did before, but maybe not daily. We'll see.

Just random thoughts on writing today:

I've been stuck on my adult mystery I've been writing. Procrastinating, maybe, Feeling like it's not worth continuing, sometimes. I'm an outliner so have it all pretty much figured out. Things do change as I write and as I see things to fix, but that's okay. I at least have a starting point.

That's been the problem - starting. I'd do a little, then nonfiction stuff would interrupt me. It'd take weeks, months, to get back to it. Problem is I'd get stuck rereading where I was to get back into it.

I usually know when I am close to writing - I get crabby. I think about the book - a lot.

With Searching For A Starry Night, I had to finish; I had a deadline and a publisher interested. I like goals. Working on your own with no deadline is much harder. But what really got me writing this week was being off the Internet.

Having to store-sit a business, I'm somewhere for five hours daily, four days this week without the Internet. No endless email checking. No checking the blog or website repeatedly. Just set up the laptop and write.

Sure, I'd stop a bit, walk around, read the paper a few minutes, but I WANTED to write. I had to make the time productive. I made myself sit and type. 1,100 something words Weds. Hopefully I'll do the same or near that today and Friday.

My goal was to have this book finished this month. I'm only a quarter way through. But maybe, just maybe, I can get far enough and have enough done that I like to accomplish my next two goals soon: get a critique and look for an agent.

And that's all I'll say about it. Like I said in a previous post, I don't want to talk about the story too much for fear I get tired of it. So far, I haven't.

** Your Turn: Have trouble getting back into a book you're writing? What do you do?


  1. Sometimes, if the problem is just getting back into a story I've been pulled away from, I can re-read what I've already written and get jump-started. Sometimes it helps to read some non-fiction that applies to some part of the book, like history for a historical or about the hobby a character is interested in or the architecture or landscape of the setting.

    If my problem is being stuck, it's usually because I've written something wrong--I had a character do something he/she would never do, or I've been in such a hurry to move on I've missed an important reaction or insight or revelation. Then I just have to go over stuff until I find what I did wrong. Once I fix that, I can go on.

    Great blog, Chris! You may inspire me to do a daily blog project--but I don't think I could do it every day for a month!

  2. Dear Chris!

    "101 Good Reasons for Not Writing Today" ..... sometimes I feel I could write the handbook, print the T-shirt, make my fortune THAT way and retire early .... lol

    A kick up the backside is usually the best way to "re-motivate" my Muse when (s)he becomes reluctant to bear me through the day.
    I generally have at least 3 or 4 unfinished projects running side by side, which gives me some leeway if the one or the other doesn't seem particularly inviting on any given day.
    One work I started at least 10 years ago and have revised/updated many times but never actually written to a satisfactory conclusion is currently SCREAMING at me for completion, as the current political climate in the UK makes it very topical (my offering is a satirical 'take' involving the question of local vs. national political decisions, and includes a scenario in which my home town (Liverpool) secedes from the UK and declares itself an independent state/country!!
    If I really push myself I could have this finished by the end of the month, and it would still be topical (I've c. 80K words "in the can" so far, estimate 3/4 chapters to tidy things up ....)

  3. What 80k done? (I'm aiming for 70 and it's a ways off. ha!) And only 3/4 left? No excuse! You are nearly done!!! (And now as you publicly 'confessed,' you now have to finish. heh-heh). We'll all be watching and waiting for a report!

  4. You realize, Chris, that you, like Paul, just confessed. Now you have to finish the book. No more hesitating. No more re-reading. Read the last chapter where you left off and go from there. If you feel like it's been too long since your read it, then go ahead, start from the beginning. But as you read, make notes, chapter by chapter -- a mini synopsis of the book (doesn't even have to be complete sentences). Then from then on, you'll have this to refer to and you won't have to re-read. (Just update it as you write).

    There are people out there -- a critiquer, an agent, readers -- who are WAITING on you!

  5. Thanks Helen, I didn't think of it as my 'confession.' Good idea, I guess! I do have a mini synopsis that I refer to; I just have to keep going now but I'm getting excited about it. (A good sign!)

  6. Oh yeah, brother do I EVER have the same problem (challenge, I prefer to call them - lol) I'm a ZONE writer. When I'm in the zone, I can't stop writing - hours and hours, sometimes days at a time. The stuff is flowing and pouring out faster than I can key. But when not inspired, I often get distracted and leave the half-written ms collecting cyber dust. Sometimes even feel (like you mentioned) it's not really all THAT good, doubt sets in. Fortunately I have enough discipline to write everyday. The thing plods along even though I may be questioning whether or not I should be a writer. Then the precious zone comes back, and WOW! I'm a million bucks again - lol

  7. Heh. Your remark about knowing you're close to writing because you're getting crabby REALLY struck close to home! The bit about outlining, not so much.

    I try and re-read a project and see if it sparks me again once I've put it aside. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I actually work best with a deadline - then there ARE no excuses.

  8. This is definitely the biggest problem of any writer I've met over the 20 plus years in the business.

    Some of us have exactly the opposite problem. We can't stop, we write in our heads, in our sleep, during a dentist appointment, and way after it's time to quit at night.

    I guess both are equally bothersome.
    Good post.

  9. I must be doing SOMETHING right, because I've spent this afternoon reading and editing my Opening Chapter - and that was BEFORE procrastination took over and I read Helen's comments about re-reading and editing!
    This is goig to be a leaner, meaner, fighting machiner before I'm finished with it! (I might even have to flee the country and seek Political Asylum somewhere .........!)

  10. Chris: Set a reward for yourself--something so wonderful you won't want to miss out--and refuse to accept that reward until finished!!! It woprks for me :-)

  11. ok it's still working. ha! 900+ words today. not bad. joyce -you mean a reward like chocolate? but that's all the time. ha!

  12. Nice to know other people have the same problems! I also work better with a deadline, so try to impose one myself--write it on the calendar or tell someone that I'll have something finished by a certain time--and that sometimes helps. Of course, a little chocolate never hurts!


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