Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to turn over the blogging reins today to an amazing fellow author (not to mention my kick-butt critique partner) Katey Coffing, whom I love despite the fact that her high energy levels make me look like a slug most days. Not only is she a coach for women writers, many of whom she has shepherded on to publication, but she also writes lush, drool-worthy fantasy romance, earning herself a Golden Heart final last year with the sumptuous Kiss of Fate, which is currently out on submission to find a home of its own. Katey’s writing is one of my favorite escapes, and her advice is always spot-on, so I thought I’d have her over to talk shop today. She’ll be in to chat, so please say hello!
A novelist's goal is to create a tale that will enthrall her readers. Sometimes the process of creating the story engrosses the author, too, and the novel practically types itself. Unfortunately, most of the time it doesn't, and we have to painstakingly assemble the words. Sometimes writing feels like volunteering to get run over by a squad of bulldozers.
Most of us have figured out some tricks to keep ourselves going, even when the fun-seeking kid within us is shouting, "Noooo, I don't wanna!" In my years as a coach for women writers, I've discovered and shared many of these handy tricks, and here are a few.
Promise yourself a nice reward after sitting down and getting something done, whether that something is a scene, a page, or even a paragraph. Make the reward match the amount you get done (or how hard it was for you to do it). Rewards for different levels could include ten minutes to check your email or read blogs, half an hour of enjoying a favorite author's latest book, buying a new CD, or getting a shoulder and neck massage to soothe those typing aches. (If a massage therapist isn't in the budget, consider a mutual "massage reward" agreement with your spouse, a friend, or a critique partner.)
Write Out of Order
Who says you have to do Scene 5 before Scene 6, or even before Scene 27? If Scene 5 is driving you crazy, skip ahead to something that isn't. In the process of writing what comes before and after the problem section, you'll often discover the solution.
Deadlines Are Your Friend
Tell a critique partner or friend (or several of them) what you want to get done that day--and ask them to hold you to it. The potential embarrassment of reporting in empty-handed will get words flowing.
A simple kitchen timer can do wonders for your determination. Set it and challenge yourself to write a certain number of words during that time. For more about how a timer can get your fingers cruising over the keyboard, see this: http://www.women-ink.com/timer-magic.htm
If you dread filling a blank page, try writing the dialogue first. You'll end up with the bare bones of a scene you can flesh out afterwards. Plus, dialogue created this way is often snappier than what's produced during a slower, more thorough scene draft.
Writers, what else have you done to keep yourself going even after you just don't wanna? And those of you who aren't writers, I'm sure you've discovered favorite techniques to complete other "don't wanna" things, so please chime in.
Although I have client appointments today, I'll try to check in every couple of hours, and I look forward to having everyone share what works!
Goalmeister Katey Coffing, Ph.D. is a 2007 Golden Heart® finalist and a certified life coach who guides women writers to success. She delights in helping her clients complete and polish their manuscripts, create kick-ass queries and synopses, and get The Call from agents and editors. Discover more at Women-Ink.com.