Because, honestly, writing can get tedious. No matter how much I love doing it, it’s hard to stare at the computer for an hour and come away with (if I’m lucky) one or two pages. Then get up at next day and do it all over again. Rinse, wash, repeat. I’m not a finish-a-book-in-a-month type of writer, and I don’t think I ever will be.
My solution for that is working on more than one project. Focusing on just one story at a time has never ended well for me; I get perfectionistic and claustrophobic and just want to backspace all the way to page one. Spreading myself around stops me from obsessing too long over any one story.
I also play certain songs over and over again until they fade into a nice background track--right now I’m listening to “Roses” by The Chainsmokers. “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” by U2 and (weirdly) “Life on Mars” by David Bowie are two of my favorite motivational songs. Plus there’s always “Try” by P!nk. I’m a visual thinker, which means half the time I’ll be tearing my hair out because I know exactly how everyone in a scene should look and move, but it’s not playing out right on paper. Having a soundtracks helps.
So does journaling. Since college my entries have been few and far between, but I do try to keep track of what I’m writing (or why I’m not writing). Reading books about writers inspires me--I just finished The Art of Neil Gaiman, which is a beautiful book (fair warning: it includes a bunch of examples of his earlier work, some of which is pretty disturbing). I can’t see an empty notebook without wanting to fill it up with something.
And when all of that fails, I write. Right now I’m working on three different projects--a short story I need to polish, another one I’m drafting, and the very start of what I hope will be a much longer project. They all have bits of things that I love in them--ghosts and magic and horror and family--and so far they’ve all been flowing, which is wonderful. I’m not bouncing-of-the-walls giddy with joy, but I am satisfied, and that’s the most wonderful feeling.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that the right ideas will stick with you, and they’re worth slogging through on the hard days. You can be unsentimental with them and just write, because they’re the ones that you need to finish, no matter what.
How do you guys stay productive?
Picture credit: X
Picture credit: X