Here are some sad realities of my manuscript’s progress. In fact, they almost feel more like confessions at this point. I have made no real progress on my manuscript in a good solid four weeks. Yikes! (And she hung her head in shame.) I did find a lost section that I was able to integrate in. One of my favorite parts of the story in fact. But as far as new growth, things have been pretty stagnant.
That’s not to say I haven't been writing anything. (Albeit not much) I have still been working on some short stories and things that you will see on Fiction Friday eventually. But in the area of my book it’s been bleak.
Like everything in life, writing has an ebb and flow to it. Sometimes the words can come in crashing waves that can flood cities. Other times it hasn't rained in months and you think you might die before it ever does. So I have hit a bit of a dry patch. I have my excuses all ready and lined up for anyone willing to listen, but I know I’m my own biggest problem.
My time management skills have been lacking in a major way as of late. Then when I do sit down to write I find numerous ways to distract myself. I also have developed a wonderful knack for telling myself I can’t think of anything good. When the truth is I haven’t cleared my head out enough to even try my hardest.
So there they are my truth bombs. Time to move past this rough patch of writing and reignite the fires of creativity. (Too Corny? Oh well. Deal with it.) Here are my…
5 Tips for Refocusing Your Scattered Mind.
1) Turn Off Your Phone
(How Dare She!) That’s right I said it. The unspeakable. Cut yourself off from the distractions of social media and Pokémon Go. Whatever it may be. (Hi, my name is Jamie and I’m a Pinterestaholic.)
Really, we live in a time where the concept of not having a phone in our possession at all times is considered weird. Which personally this old lady finds weird. (I weep for every millennial and all who come after.) I’m not saying I don’t usually have my phone, I do. I’m just saying it’s good to take a break. When I have my phone the compulsion to check is always lurking at the next free moment I have. So remove the phone, remove the compulsion, then maybe at my next free moment I’ll have time to possibly have an original thought.
2) Read Something that Inspires you.
This could be anything. It doesn't have to be some obviously inspirational autobiography of a person that overcomes adversity and saves the planet. Unless that’s your thing, then more power to ya. Read anything that inspires you to do whatever it is you want. Something that gives you courage and makes you want to take risks.
For me it was an off the wall British sci-fi book. (Better Than Life, Book 2 of The Red Dwarf) When I finished it, it reminded me that a story can be silly, clever, COMPLETELY ridiculous and still totally amazing. Not everything I write needs to be a dramatic epic odyssey. There are hundreds of different stories to tell and most all of them could use a joke.
Whether it inspires you to be more outlandish, serious, committed, ruthless, romantic, etc., reading is a great way to put things in perspective.
3) Get Up Early
This is one of my personal favorites. I’m a morning person, at first out of necessity then I adapted over time. Now if I sleep past eight I feel like I’ve missed my best hours of brain power. Many of my Fiction Friday posts are written Friday morning between the hours of 6am-9am. This might change in the winter months, but all the more reason to take advantage now.
I live in a fairly quiet area, getting up early has a feeling of most of the world still being asleep. Me being an introvert that deeply values my alone time, this is a thought I find quite comforting. Less people making noise the better. I adore getting up having a cup of coffee and watching the sunrise, I have had some of my favorite story ideas in these moments. I would do it every day if it weren't for that stupid thing they call a day job.
4) Fall in Love with Your Own Work, Again.
I know I already mentioned reading as one of the tips but this is different. Read something YOU wrote. Find a section you love. Something that was so good you surprised yourself. A part that makes you love your characters that much more.
Basically remind yourself not everything you write it complete garbage. That’s how I felt. It was all crap! Everything! Till I found a chapter I wrote months ago. Where two of my characters meet for the first time, and it was awesome. (You mean I’m not the worst writer on the planet? Color me shocked.) Momentum is a huge factor in writing. So once you lose a significant amount it’s hard to get that ball rolling again. Sometimes we need a confidence booster so we don’t quit all together.
5) Stop Being a Girl.
Ok, before you grab your pitchforks and torches over that comment let me explain. I’m all about that Lady Boss, Girl Power, Rah Rah stuff. I totally believe women should be encouraging one another not tearing each other down. (If you’re a male reading this don’t skip this one. Maybe you’ll learn something about “The Complex Infrastructure known as the Female Mind”. -Relient K)
So, why stop being a girl? As a woman it is pretty much impossible to think about nothing! Really there is always something going on in there… always. Which makes it difficult to clear our heads and make room for other things. Men on the other hand have this amazing ability to literally think about NOTHING! I’m not making fun. It’s a trait I often envy. The power to shut down my manic brain would come in very handy. The point is to try your best to clear your mind of all the other crap that is going on in your life and the world. I try to channel my inner guy and shut down. If you are a guy, consider me Jelly.
Even though it’s still slow going, I am starting to make my way back to the right track. My word count is at 37,221 still under halfway. (eeek) I just have to keep sifting through my cluttered mind and refocusing on what I really want.