You tell yourself you’re writing 500 words today. No matter what. But it’s been a week since you opened your manuscript, and when you sit down with your laptop, you can’t bring yourself to actually open the file.What begins as hesitation turns into full-blown dread. You remember a chore you forgot to do, and it becomes vital to do it right this minute. When it’s done, you find another “necessary” task until the day is done and you’ve completely avoided your work-in-progress. You’re filled with a mixture of relief and self-loathing. It’s not that you don’t want to write–you love writing–it’s just really intimidating sometimes. Okay, all the time.
I’ve done this many times over the years. Those vital chores? The necessary tasks? I’ve done just about anything to avoid writing. Cleaned cupboards? Check. Rolled quarters? Check. I wish I was kidding!
But I realized a long time ago this scenario can be avoided.
- Know your away-from-manuscript limit. Personally, I can go about three days, maybe four, without writing before the untouched file becomes scary.
- Work within the above limit. If I’m writing a first draft, I NEVER let more than three days pass without adding to it.
- Daydream about where the story is heading. I get excited to write when I know what’s happening next. Daydreaming is essential!
- Jot down details of the next scene in a notebook right after each writing session. I snagged this tip from a fantastic (and short) book for writers called 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing What You Love by Rachel Aaron. For $0.99 on Kindle, you can’t beat it! It’s full of great tips to add to your word count every day.
- Plan your weekly writing sessions. I’ve been doing this for six years. It works. Take a quick look at your upcoming week and schedule a word count for each day. Then add these goals for a weekly total. Mondays are horrible for me, so I usually set an extremely low word count. But Tuesday might be wide open. I make that a high word count day. It’s very motivating to know if I make my daily word counts, my weekly tally will be high. If you’re interested in another terrific book on this topic, try Allie Pleiter’s The Chunky Method Handbook.
- Remember why you’re writing in the first place. Isn’t it because you have a story to tell? Because you love pouring your heart out onto the pages? Because these characters won’t leave you alone?
Do you ever get too intimidated to write? How do you combat it?
Have a lovely day!