Procrastination: the dirtiest P word any writer knows

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I’ve plotted and outlined my story, I’m excited. Inciting incidents and an ending that will cause my readers to ugly cry are dancing in my head. I’ve spent hours curating the perfect writing playlist on Spotify and making inspirational pinboards on Pinterest. My desk is clean, I have a notebook at my side, ready to write down anything that may come to me when I’m in this heightened state of inspiration.

Then I stop.

I’ll do almost anything to avoid being productive, maybe not intentionally, but I will… I’ve cleaned my house top to bottom. Suddenly remembered that I need to clean out my closet or garage. I have chores, errands. Then I start binge-watching shows on Netflix and getting stuck for hours on Youtube watching other authors talk about writing. And then suddenly – it’s gone. I can’t write. The motivation deflated.

So how do we kick procrastination in the ass?

Procrastination is all in my head. It’s about my fear of failing and comparing myself to others. It’s about thinking that I need to be perfect, and re-reading my work and thinking that I’m a complete fraud who can’t write and my words suck and I become my own worst enemy. it’s obsessing over creating beautiful passages and similes, going back and correcting things before I can move on.

Writing isn’t pretty. First drafts aren’t pretty.

When I get stuck on certain passages and can’t move on, that isn’t writing. When I’m constantly re-reading my work and trying to perfect it before I can move on, that isn’t writing.  That interrupts the flow of my story and zaps my creativity.

Step one: TURN OFF THE INTERNET!!!

If you’re like me, you might head to Pinterest or whatever website inspires you, and then three hours later you’ve planned your cats birthday party in great detail, and you haven’t written a damn word. No, you don’t need it for research. No, you don’t need it to come up with a different word for arsenal because you’ve just written it four times in one chapter (true story – and there was never any weapons…). That comes later. Right now, you just need to get those words on paper.

Step two: Baby steps

Set a timer. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. And tackle something SMALL. Tackle a small scene, not even an entire chapter. Are you trying to nail a fight scene, or a kissing scene or maybe an important internal monologue. Take a small amount of time and just write that one thing.

Step three: Stop self-editing before you move on

That’s what your second draft is for. That’s what a proofreader is for. You’re too close to your work at this point, it hasn’t had time to breathe and sit. If you continually take time to self-edit (especially AS you are writing, you aren’t doing yourself any favors) The focus on perfection is a doom spiral, trust me on this.

Step four: Allow yourself to take a break.

Take a ten-minute walk around the block. Pet your dog. Go outside and pull some weeds. Whatever it is that clears your head and allows you to stop thinking about your damn book for a minute – do it.

Step five: Bones

No, not like a dog. This has been the biggest a-ha moment in my writing. I just get the bones or the skeleton of a chapter or scene written. I worry about the meat later when I revise. So what does that mean? That means – maybe I have a pivotal conversation and I just write the dialogue. No tags, no action, no scene setting. Just the conversation. And I move on. Yep. I just move on. It’s ugly and anxiety producing at first and if anyone ever read my first drafts of certain chapters, they’d think a five-year-old wrote them. But I swear by it and it’s really helped me become more productive.

The final step: Be nice to yourself.

Stop beating yourself up for not hitting a word count goal. Stop focusing on everything wrong with your first draft and focus on the fact that you started the first draft. Reward yourself for the baby steps. Reward yourself for completing a chapter. STOP comparing yourself to other writers and how fast they write.

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Camp NaNoWriMo Midpoint Check-in – personal life update

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I just love NaNoWriMo. I don’t know if it’s the looming deadline or my competitive nature, but NaNoWriMo kicks my writing butt into gear. As with NaNo in the fall, I used the time to complete The Space Between Us, and I am using Camp NaNo to complete How We Fall, book two in the Men of Evansdale County series.

I am just shy of 40,000 words in my 80,000 word goal!

My cabin mates and I have been keeping tabs on our goals and word counts daily, and last weekends “write in” was quite a success. One of the things that I’ve been doing a little differently this go around is listening to rain sounds instead of music, and it’s been really working for me. THIS ONE  and THIS ONE have been my favorites so far.

My goal is to have this book published and in your hands by the end of July!

In other news, I am now a homeschooling mama.

If you know me, you know my youngest son is on the autism spectrum as well as a host of many other issues. This school year has been progressively worse to the point he was recently expelled for nine days. Upon the advice of a teacher and many friends, I found a group called Parent 2 Parent who provided me with two advocates. We spent hours on the phone talking the night before his re-entry meeting. And boy was I glad. When we arrived that morning, it was myself, my two advocates and eleven school board members including the superintendent of schools. It was intimidating to say the least.

I held strong, remained poised and called on my advocates when I needed to.

In the end, I had them change some wording on a bunch of paperwork that kind of “blamed” certain behaviors on me (that I would not have noticed had I not had my advocates) and we fought to have him finish the school year from home. An aid will be coming for an hour or two a day to help him out, and he and I will work on some schoolwork together as well. I think my binder full of school work is more intimidating than that meeting.

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…tap tap tap…is this thing still on?

Yes! I am alive.

I barely survived inventory at my “real” job and then got thrown into a massive project in my garden center. We basically had to flip the entire thing. Muscles in parts of my body I wasn’t even aware there were muscles hurt…Plus I’ve been dealing with some pretty intense family stress that is leaving me quite emotionally drained.

How We Fall is coming along nicely. I’ve hit a great stride and my WIP is sitting at 32k words. I have my early stage beta reader going through it and she’s already given it a thumbs up ♥

I will try and get back to actively blogging soon.

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Camp NaNoWriMo | The Island re-cover

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If you follow me on any social media sight, you know that I finished writing The Space Between Us during NaNoWriMo.

Until recently, I’d never heard of Camp NaNoWriMo until it was mentioned in a group I’m in on Facebook led by the one and only Alessandra Torre. Since I have a WIP that I’m trying to write, I figured I would sign up and I volunteered to be a “cabin leader”.

I am now the proud cabin leader of 8 other authors (Go Cabin Seahorses!) Every word we write counts towards our entire cabin – so camp is a team effort. My goal for Camp is to write 50 thousand words, which will put me at close to 80k for my current novel!

I’ve been a busy little bee. Writing. Working. Raising my boys. Beta reading. And I’ve had the pleasure of creating custom FaceBook branding for quite a few authors and working with two authors on creating their book covers. (I will post as soon as they give me the okay and have done their own cover reveals.)

Well, I couldn’t just NOT give The Island a pretty new cover. I’ll tell you – I’ve really struggled with that cover. Nothing ever felt quite right…until this beauty happened yesterday. As soon as I started to build the cover, everything just felt right. The tone, the colors – I’m in LOVE.

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