When I get stuck...
Yes, it happens to me. My optimum time for writing is early morning, which is impossible with my current schedule. So, I write whenever I can, usually from 8 PM - 10 PM at night. As a result, my energy levels and clarity are not in tip-top shape.
I've learned the causes:
1. Not enough sleep will turn my brain to mush. A couple of nights without at least 7 hours of shut-eye guarantees problems at the computer.
2. Either life hits or my schedule gets crazy due to family or church commitments.
3. When I encounter 1 and 2 above, I'm a prime target for writer's block, brain freeze, or whatever label you want to give it. The word count elephant seems too enormous even when taking small bites.
Setting myself up for success:
1. Shut the computer, pray, and go to bed. Forcing the issue is a waste of time and sets up negative thought patterns.
2. I build some grace into my schedule for when I miss a day here and there due to other obligations. I technically could meet my goal of July 20th by writing 650 words a day. By writing 1,000+ words a day, I'm increasing my chances of meeting that goal even if I miss some time. Right now, I'm tracking for late June.
3. I take a short break half way into my daily word count goal, which is 1,000 words per night. A cookie, a quick email check, a look at Facebook, or getting my clothes ready for the next day gives my mind a chance to re-group.
4. Tracking the word count on a pad is enough to keep me motivated. There's something about seeing the book grow that develops momentum. Having my agent and one of my critique partners read the first three chapters and saying they want more also provided a boost.
5. Celebrate the mini-goals met: 10,000 words, reaching the 1/3 point, the halfway mark, etc. By doing this, I'm encouraging myself and focusing on the progress rather on how much more I have to write.
Writers: What are your triggers for writer's block? How do you combat it?
Readers: What motivates you to stick with a big project?
Photo Credit: hisks