Always On: What You Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

I have a system that always keeps my writing going no matter how writer’s blocked I get.
I hate the advice given that you should write write write even if you don’t feel like it. What usually happens is I set there pulling teeth for hours and hours and then I usually end up having to axe that section during editing anyway…or when I get to editing, I’ll remember the terrible struggle to write the scene, then I won’t want to rewrite the scene and end up with crappy writing in my book.
So, I do not write when I don’t feel like I can give it my all. I give myself permission to put something off until the right moment…BUT WHAT DO I DO TILL THEN?
Here is my system: First, I always have more than one project going at the same time. My Primary project (The Fall, currently in editing) My secondary project (The Apprentice, just about finished with first draft it’s about wizards) My third project (Is there a thirdary? The Claiming. It’s about aliens, still in the beginning stages of writing) (I also have been dappling with the second book in the series of to Love a Beast, To Love One’s Husband). So I’ve got plenty of meat on my plate.
So I’m working on editing The Fall and all the sudden I feel like if I edit for one more second that I’m probably going to go on a shooting spree…
No worries. Stop editing and move on to the wizards. There is a lot more story to write there, and a lot of stuff to type out (Cause my first draft takes place in notebooks).
Wizards not working out…There’s always aliens! or back to good ole regency England.
Still keep your primary project in mind though, and when you can go back to that project, do, and work hard on it. The other books will be primary later, of course, but its good to continue to be productive if you can’t work on the primary book right then.
I’ve always heard the rule that if you write too many books at once then nothing will ever get done. Yes, I believe that, but that rule does not take into account that I have so many stories in my head that if I don’t get some of them out right away that my head would explode balloons and confetti. No one writes the same way. Not all rules fit all people.
The trick it to keep your focus on the primary book while still indulging the other books at the same time (So I don’t go completely insane).
And if you cannot write period… that’s one of the reasons why my first draft is in ink. The type out phase of the books is very helpful. If you don’t feel like thinking, you can just type as fast as you can mindlessly (And still be getting work done).
The type out draft is my 2nd draft. I’m still changing things, still rewording things, still cutting off arms, and I find it more constructive than regular computer editing. The normal editing process takes place (for me) third draft- 5,000,000th draft.
That’s how I roll. How do you guys do it?

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  1. * Kate Patrick says:

    I am in awe of you…I am struggling with my second book. It is my one and only right now. After weeks of eeking out a couple hundred words (pathetic words) here and there,, I finally got it going last night, but the sun also rises to evaporate the mists, and with it my inspiration! Trying to not push so hard, I lost my other partial manuscript because the jump drive fried, and with it Reed and Charlotte. Thank you for sharing what you are doing. I think I will try to resume my other characters from their fiery grave and try to put it back together while I’m stuck on the current one. I feel better already. I really do love your blog, and have bought your book. Just haven’t had time to sit and “savor it” without interruption. On Spring Break this week, so hopefully, this will be the week it comes to life for me.:) . Keep up the good work. Whatever you do, it’s working! šŸ™‚

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 3 months ago
    • * bflyzone says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I have lost part of a manuscript one time. Then I decided to never let it happen again. I save constantly, and not just in one place. I do a normal desktop save, I save to a jump drive. I email the whole thing to myself in multiple email accounts, I hide a copy or two on my parents computer, I have a hard copy on paper (not really expensive. It’s around 20 bucks for about 250 pages somewhere in there). My First draft is always in a notebook, so I’ll always have that. It’s easier to repair and build up bare bones than it is the start over with nothing. I save every draft (that has a huge important change). For instance, To Love a Beast has 4 big drafts. The first draft is The Bad Duke. It is around 150,000 words+, but its the full story with lots of extra scenes, all kinds of stuff I could never let my grandmother read, lots of non regency language and pop culture that didn’t belong. It’s a hell of a lot of fun but virtually unsellable. Also every chapter had its own file. Second draft, I mushed all the chapters together into one file, looking for plot holes and such. This is the first time I read this one from beginning to end. Then I realized my manuscript needed to be around 85,000 words. 3rd draft, major cut version. I cut out all the scenes that the story could live without. Got it down to maybe 110,000 words. Last draft was just cutting out redundancies, words that I didn’t need, basically the big clean up. In the end it was 100,000 words. Okay, I just got off on a tangent. Sorry.
      Losing parts of your manuscript does stifle your creativity a bit. Whenever I need inspiration, I go to Barnes and Noble and get a reference book about writing. It may be information you already know in that book, but it never hurts to see the same info again. Literary magazines are good too. You never know when a nugget of inspiration might hit. What happens to me, is I start reading a book about writing, then I say to myself, hey, I can do that, and then I go do it, and everything is off and running again.
      Remember, your characters are your babies. They will come back to you, maybe a little different than you hoped, but isn’t that how all babies grow up? Sometimes, the second time around they turn out better than before.
      Now go kick some booty!

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 3 months ago

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