What’s The Hardest Thing About Writing?
That’s an easy question with a difficult answer. Basically, as I mentioned earlier, I have no problem coming up with ideas. Following through on them, however, is another story. It seems like a few chapters into any story, I’m suddenly way more interested in the next idea. (Ooh, look a shiny new thing!) If you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I do have some attention issues. I only figured that out when my own son was diagnosed with ADHD. What, everybody’s not like that?! Who knew?
Turns out the very thing that makes me good at coming up with new ideas is also the thing that makes it really hard to take those ideas to completion. Now that I’m aware of it, though, I’ve developed strategies for trying to stick to a project. Like setting myself a goal each day. When I’m writing full-time, the goal is 1000-2000 words a day. The last several months, I haven’t been able to meet that goal, owing to assorted ongoing life crises and catastrophes -- so I just try to write a little bit everyday.
If I come up with a better story idea, which I constantly do, I jot down a few notes about it and try to go back to the story I’m already working on. I try to set rewards for myself too – get to the end of the third chapter and go out to dinner somewhere nice. Reach the halfway point and take a few days off. It’s tricky coming up with ways to motivate myself, but I’m getting better at it.
I’m told that another great way to stick to the story is to develop an actual plot first. More on that fascinating idea in my next post.