Friday, July 12, 2013

Be Like Nike—Just Do It

By Charlee Vale

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to write about today, and on the suggestion of our own R.C. Lewis, I'm writing about what's most on my mind about the writing process at the moment. I hope you'll find these wandering thoughts helpful.

If you're one of my Critique Partners, you've probably heard the title of this post from me. Probably more than once. It's a favorite phrase of mine when trying to get people past their fears to doing actual writing.

I'm here to talk about a slippery thing today, and something I'm currently struggling with: motivation.

The reason it's slippery is because it always seems to pop up at the most inconvenient times. When you have time to write isn't the time you'll want to. No, the time you'll want to is when you're the busiest and won't be able to. Isn't that the way of Murphy's law?

But what about when you do have the time? When you have those precious hours of free time and you can write. But there's also a new episode of Game of Thrones calling your name, or possibly new music, maybe a TV movie (Like the ever popular SyFy hit SHARKNADO).

Here's the truth: Writing books is hard.

Of course it is, Charlee. We already knew that!—I know you did, but let me say it again. Writing books is damn hard. Finishing books is hard. Sometimes just sitting down to the computer or picking up your notebook will be the hardest thing you'll ever do. But if you want to write, you've still got to do it.

Whatever you need to do for motivation, do it. Find a way that works for you. If you need to make sure you have a dessert-like treat after a set word count, make sure you stock up on cupcakes or candy.

If you're a visual person like me, you may need to find a way to chart your progress so that you can see your novel grow as you write.

Give yourself a time limit to write certain amounts of words, do writing sprints with friends. Be strict about it and make sure that you can both stretch yourself and accomplish your goal. Don't cave just because it's hard.

The number one thing I can tell you about writing, is the AIC factor. That is Ass-In-Chair. Putting in the time to write your book is the only thing that will get it done. It won't write itself. Don't wait for a magical bolt of inspiration to come to you to write, just write. If you do it long enough, something will come.

Whatever stage of the process you're in—drafting, revisions, polishing, querying. Nothing substitues for cold hard time. That may take some sacrifices, it may not, but don't wait for something to happen without you. Make the choice to sit in the chair every day. It's all any of can ever do.

Charlee Vale is a Young Adult writer, photographer, and tea lover living in New York City. You can also find her at her website, and on Twitter, and sitting in her incredibly comfy office chair...drafting. 


JeffO said...

Motivation is not that hard for me. I want to produce a book (books, really) that's publishable, and that people are going to want to read. The only way that's going to happen is if I sit down and write it.

I've also found that, even on the days where I feel like I've got nothing, and no desire to write, that if I do sit down and start working, I get out of that funk. Once I get started, I tend to find the energy.

Jemi Fraser said...

Love it Charlee! Now, off to get my butt in that chair... :)

Liza said...

This lesson is on that bears repeating...again and again. Thanks!