My latest writing buddy tells it like it is.
You’ve got to focus on what you want. The novel that needs writing. The heroine who needs fleshing out. The hero who must be so broken yet beautiful that, of course, you, the writer will tumble headlong in love. (Fan me, please. Yes, I’m that good ;^) Make your readers weep. (You too, because real men aren’t easily written. That goes for flesh-and-blood females, too.)
My new buddy is absolutely right. No question. But that kind of driven means putting all your eggs—brain cells—in one basket.
But what to do when the gears get gummed up by that one thing? That one story? Dry spells happen. What do you do when your writerly life demands you work on something besides your WIP? (And you don’t have a deadline?).
Sometimes cheating on your manuscript is the best way to keep the romance alive. That’s your love of writing and the ongoing affair with your creative side that led you to this crazy career.
But writing is work. And to keep the love lights burning, writers require a frequent injection of excitement. Changes in scenery, background music, schedules, recreation, and characters, whatever it takes to keep the words flowing so they can focus on the whole. The writing. That sometimes means picking up a different WIP. Spending an hour getting reacquainted with other heroes and heroines of your creation.
An outline quickie could be just the thing. (WIPS are not spouses!)
And an object in motion stays in motion, right? Hitting that couch often means you’re not getting back up, even if you insist you’re mulling your hero’s journey. Sometimes staring at that WIP while producing nothing will get you nowhere–anathema in NaNoWriMo season, but there it is.
Working authors need to write blurbs, synopses, queries, proposals, Facebook posts, Tweets, and blog posts. They need to email editors, agents, readers and other writers. Brainstorming is followed by outlining, rough drafts, edits to infinity, and endless polishing. And working writers typically produce more than one manuscript.
So if you get stuck, cheat.
Cheat, but never leave.
Give yourself incentive to keep going by reminding yourself that you’re capable of more, even if you’re tackling your first story. There are other characters, good characters, awaiting your attention. Counting the moments until you pick them up and focus on making their story shine. At least that’s how it works for me. I’d love to know your thoughts.