Friday, May 30, 2008

The Writing Zone

Our four day weekend has started - The Ours took today off and Monday is a bank holiday - but I still rewrote 600 words this morning.

I'm really trying to write every day if I can. It seems like most published authors write every day, rain or shine - I do like having the weekends off though, and because of that distinction I tend to get more done during the week. Perhaps the solution is to do less at the weekends?

I'm still clinging to the idea that I must achieve a certain mindset before I start writing though. Today I felt a little distracted and not really in 'the zone', so my writing wasn't quite right. I know I'll have to read through what I wrote today again and tighten it up. But I also don't want to get into the habit of putting off writing because I don't 'feel' like it, because I might never get it done.

Does anyone else have this problem? Any ideas on how to get the best out of your writing sessions if you don't really feel like it?

10 comments:

Calistro said...

To be honest, unless I've just been struck by a particularly exciting idea or addition for a scene, I rarely 'feel like it' when I sit down to write. I know what you mean about wanting to be in the right mindset though. I normally have to wait until it's dark, quiet and late and then try to have a bit of a tidy up of my desk before I get started and even then I can't guarantee I'll be in the right mindset. For me the mindset develops as I start to write. Sometimes it clicks in and I'll fire off 2,000 words, at other times it's a real struggle and I'll give up after a few hundred words knowing I'm having a bit of an off day!

Anonymous said...

I try to find writing tasks that suit my mood and the situation.

For example, during the day whilst I'm at work, I'll write Haiku or other short poetry forms whilst clients are completing written exercises or preparing presentations etc.

If I know I'm not particularly 'with it', I won't attempt to write anything too involved - i.e. a new form heavy on complex rules etc.

Of course, sometimes I just have to force myself to get on with something heavy - even if I don't really feel like it. On those occasions I try not to worry about quality too much and instead concentrate on the new form. Or, I'll try a familiar form and be really tough on quality.

Easier said than done though! Writing everyday - something I try to do, but I probably manage more like five days a week. Not always weekdays.

Theo.

Yvonne said...

Calistro, I rarely feel like it either! I suppose the difficulty today was that the scene needed to be short but pack a punch - a lot to convey but in a subtle manner. I think your advice about just going for it is spot on - and knowing when to stop if it's not working for you!

Theo, that's why I loved writing my first draft because I'd just write to suit my mood. The edit and rewrite is harder because I have to go through it in a linear way, so if I have a scene to edit that's dark or heavy I can't skip it because I'm not feeling it. At this stage the quality has to be there too. I suppose that's the reason I'm finding it much harder than the first draft!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I try certain types of music to get my in the mood to write. Or to put it another way, consistent types of music - i.e. a particular album or artist for a particular write. Though I would say, I can sometimes find the lyrics distracting...

I've never asked before, since you're writing a book based in the city you live in, have you tried writing in the actual places? I mean, for as long as is practical ;)

Personally, I've never been a huge fan of writing in public... more of a lower the blinds and blacken the room kind of writer... but I've found of late I can write with things going on around me.

Theo.

Yvonne said...

I think the writing in different places is a great idea. Even just a change of scene, like moving from the living room to the bedroom can give me a boost. I usually write better in my home though than other places, and music had a tendency to put me off. I might give classical music a try - no lyrics to put me off!

KAREN said...

I think that's a good idea too - it's hard to motivate yourself when you're not really in the zone. Like Calistro, I find that starting to write eventually puts me in the mood but sometimes just sitting down is the hard part!

Yvonne said...

Karen, sitting down to get the job done is difficult. I find that methods I used to study actually help get me writing too - deadlines, writing out notes first before rewriting onscreen, and putting everything else off until I get something done! Also the more I write, the more it becomes part of my daily routine.

Angie said...

I definitely have that problem as well, but find like Calistro that I just have to sit down and write to create the mindset. I agree with Karen that sometimes sitting down to write is the hardest part.
I try to take the weekends off as well, but I'm starting to think it might keep me on track more if I write even a little bit.
Enjoy your four day weekend!

Pavlov said...

Sometimes you just need to walk away...

Not everytime you don't feel like writing (the morning paper would be on the thin side) but every now and again.

Nobody is looking for blood here... well, some are. But there is nothing wrong about being inspire either.

Keep chugging.....

Yvonne said...

Angie, it's very true that you can never know how you're going to do until you get started...I suppose the lesson here is to at least try.

Pavlov, welcome - I think sometimes I am looking for blood! But you make a good point, there's nothing wrong with walking away if it's not working.