One of our foxes asked, “What stops you dead in your tracks when writing?”
For me, it’s usually one of these six things:
- Family needs: Of course, this is the non-negotiable interruption. When my mom needs to get to the doctor, or the grandkids are sick need to come home from school, these situations must come first. I find it difficult to even think about my works-in-progress when involved with my family, so I’ve stopped trying.
- Stuff that needs to get done: It’s no secret that I lead a busy life. I have several interests and hobbies to which I devote time and effort, belong to lots of different groups, and have a growing family. And there are two things I try to avoid if at all possible: being late, and being unprepared. So I spend a good part of each day getting things ready for wherever I’m going the following day. My creative interests – sewing, music-making, crafting, and writing – tend to get put on the back burner, and sometimes that bothers me. I suppose I’ve had it pounded into my mind that I should take care of needs before wants. It’s hard for me to think about putting words on the screen (what I want to do) when I have things like papers to grade, bills to pay, gifts to wrap, and dishes to wash and put away (what I need to do).
- Lack of direction: There are writing-related issues that stop me from writing, even after I’ve begun. Sometimes, I’ll have a wonderful idea for a story, but I don’t have details worked out in my mind how the characters will get from Point A to Point B. I’ll sit back and ask myself, “Where do I go from here? What would the characters say to each other? How can I get these two totally different characters to meet and get to know each other?” Even when I plot my books out, I struggle with transitions.
- Interruptions: Texts, phone calls, etc. I do enjoy being “connected” with my family. Unfortunately, my family hasn’t quite learned to figure out when I’m writing, and they often reach out while I’m trying to get something done. During the hour I set aside to write this post, I received phone calls from each of my daughters to confirm plans for the next day, and I remembered I was supposed to bring a dish to pass for tomorrow’s family meal. (See #2)
- Time commitments: I love to write, but I will admit that when people ask me what I do, my first response is that I’m a teacher or a musician. Writing, while it takes up a lot of my time, is third. During the school year, I spend a lot of time grading papers and rehearsing for concerts. So there have been times when I’ve had to stop writing an emotional scene and leave the house to play a concert or participate in whatever is on my calendar.
- Distractions: I’ve always been a curious person. I’ve often thought I might be mildly ADHD, though I’ve never been properly diagnosed. Anyway, the internet is a dangerous place for me to be when I have a deadline. I’ve had to delete several games from my phone, projects that need to be finished. I also need to remind myself often about what I’m supposed to be doing and to stick to it!
I guess it’s a good thing that I’ve been able to complete several projects for publication. I think I just don’t have it in me to stay focused on a full-length novel (my historical novel The Samurai’s Garden took eight years to write!), so most of the romances I write fall in the novella category.
What keeps you from completing your projects?
With you having said all of this, can I just cut and paste it to Friday’s post with my name? LOL! Mine will not vary much, if I regard the last decade and a half, but things are changing for me now.
Sure, why not! I have the feeling that most of these are things that any busy adult deals with. You and I just happen to be blessed with all of these issues. BTW, I hope the changes are good ones.
yeah, the internet is a dangerous place, indeed. And it can suck away time in ways I never would’ve imagined.
Love your quote, “My creative interests – sewing, music-making, crafting, and writing – tend to get put on the back burner, and sometimes that bothers me.” I can recall MANY consecutive years of what I later categorized as DRY SPELLS… when actually it was everything else cluttering up my time and energy and what I LOVED was shoved to the back burner. But more about that on Thursday.
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Wouldn’t it be nice to be irresponsible – for just a little while – and indulge in all the stuff you love to do?
I always wondered how you manage to get so much accomplished. Now I wonder at it even more with so many distractions and things to overcome to write it is wonderful that you still manage to make the time to write.
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I think the only way I manage to keep plowing along is that I schedule time for it. Our weekly sprints, along with a brainstorming group I meet with, and other times that friends and I meet either online or in person, help to keep me going!
Your post is Example #! of what keeps me from writing. I was curious to read it because of the catchy title. So, I guess, it’s really YOUR fault I’m not writing!! LOL..When I’m on a mission to complete a writing project, I do save time after lunch devoted only to the project, but….here it is 12:30 pm and I’m reading your post. So I’m breaking my rule.So, basically, I am retired, and if I don’t want to write and prefer to go off to computer class or crafts class or go for fish dinner, I do it. No, I don’t make up the writing time, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m enjoying life–my way now. Your purposeful, busy life is the best!
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Ha! I’ll accept the blame. Isn’t it wonderful to have the freedom to choose what to do and when? I think you brought up the key to it all – don’t feel guilty for choosing to do something else! Thanks so much for visiting.
I can skip the stuff that needs to get done. I’ll do it later. If I’m inspired I don’t want to quit. Otherwise, you’ve pretty much covered everything.
Sometimes I wish I could block out the voices that tell me I need to do certain things first. But then again, I’ve been caught unprepared for class and other things and I hate that feeling, too.
Writing is a constant rending of one’s soul. It’s not surprising we put it on the back burner sometimes. My latest time-suck: Woody Puzzle. It’s entirely silly. The game is unsatisfying and triggers addictive behavior.
The other trick I use to keep from getting down to the writing is to research. Going down the rabbit hole is something I naturally enjoy, but I have to set limits. Discipline is the key – we all know it. Oh, and nothing motivates like a hard deadline.
Research and games fill up a lot of my time, too! My game vices are Words with Friends and Word Crossy. For research, I’ll look up people who lived and worked in the settings for my historical romances and then I’ll get curious and want to read more. I agree, a hard deadline is an excellent motivator. Thanks so much for stopping in!
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