Momentum and Making Yourself Write

Pocketwatch

 

by S.E. Jones

Sometimes, you’ve just got to take a break. When you’re so sick of your words that you can’t look at them anymore, when you start to roll your eyes at every possible idea you have, when all of your characters seem to do not much more than walk in circles…

Well, take a break. Go on, it’s fine. What’s not fine is not starting again.

Some people find it really difficult to make themselves write. If this is you constantly, maybe try a different form or try a script–shake it up a little. If you’re still at that point but have a burning need to tell a story? Then you’re just going to have to push through the whole writing thing to tell that story.

This inability to make oneself write happens for other reasons too. Sometimes it’s just good old fashioned procrastination. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be much point. And sometimes, you’ve just written 2,000 words, and you’d like to have a break, thank-you-very-much.

The difficulty with all these is getting back to the story. Once you’ve given yourself permission to stop, then it becomes very hard to revoke that permission.

Something I’ve found useful is the idea of momentum. If you start, sometimes you’ll just get pulled forward again. If you don’t, well, maybe you’re done for the night. But starting is honestly sometimes the hardest thing.

So set a timer. Set it for five minutes. If you’re really struggling, schedule a five minute break. But make sure there’s another five minutes of writing time after that.

Cause five minutes isn’t long. Five minutes is nothing. Five minutes is “well, if I really hate it, it’s only five minutes” territory.

6 sets of five minutes is also a half hour. Five minutes is a start, and sometimes, once you’ve started, you’ll forget that you’re supposed to stop in five minutes. You’ll keep going.

It’s win-win really. Either you forget about the breaks, or even if you do take them, you’re still writing for half an hour.

 

 

Guest post contributed by S.E. Jones. S.E. is a writer and paramedic living in London. When not doing the above two things, she reads.

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12 thoughts on “Momentum and Making Yourself Write”

  1. Thanks for sharing your trick of the trade! I struggle with procrastination–big time. Sometimes the words won’t flow, but most of the time, I am being a lazy writer. So I will try your timer trick and see if that helps, because otherwise, I am all about turning that short break into a trip out of the house or time surfing the net. Thanks again!

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  2. I’ve found sometimes I can go for hours without a break, then other times the words come in spurts. If it’s that I get up, move around and do a task then go back. I can usually tell when I’m done for the days. Great post.
    -N

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  3. Thank you for sharing your tips. I often need a break from writing so I spend time on my art or my garden. A break with other people or reading a good book helps refuel the story ideas.

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  4. During those 5-minute I do something physical. I’ll load the dishwasher, unload the dishwasher, take out the trash, start a load of laundry. Anything to get the blood flowing a little faster to the brain. I try to not to think about what I’m writing so that the fog will clear.

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  5. Sometimes it’s just the story. I usually alternate between writing projects. If one isn’t flowing, I move onto one of the others and it keeps me working. You can’t force it, but you do need to push yourself. This is how I handle it haha

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  6. For me it’s habit. I’ve found that if I don’t at least write a little every day than I’ll forget and go days, sometimes weeks, without picking up my pen. But if I write every day I don’t have a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I do take breaks, but a complete literary stop is a bad idea.

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