I have no problem coming up with fresh ideas; at this time, I have so many ideas I doubt I’ll get them all down into coherent sentences before I die. I don’t need to be in the mood to write, although I find that certain emotions can be helpful. For example, if I’m writing an article on a deadline, something non-fiction, I can get myself organized with very little problem. I’m a Master Juggler of balancing many of life’s balls in the air, especially if the balls are in logical order. It’s slightly different with fiction. If I’m feeling upbeat and silly, it’s the best time to write something light and sassy, and if I’m in the middle of winter and depressed out of my mind, that’s the best time to pull out my more serious work.
I’ll admit, I’m a procrastinator, although I’m not as bad as I used to be. I can come up with lots of excuses, too. Lots of them. I have a business, I have a husband, I have kids (one still in college), I have a large house and do the housework and yard work. I have financial worries and occasional health problems. I have relatives with financial worries and occasional health problems. I have other interests I like to pursue, in addition to the things I must attend to. Excuses are handy; they might make a person feel better in the short run but honestly, none of them are valid.
If you tell yourself you are a writer (whether anyone else thinks you are one or not) as I have done for the last two years, you must sit down and WRITE. Every day. EVERY day. “Real” writers do what real artists and real musicians do every day — create.
Sometimes it’s just snippets of writing because I only have snippets of time. That’s why I keep a notebook in my purse. I might think of a phrase or an idea might hit me from out of the blue. I might hear or see an appealing name, or want to jot down a web site. I don’t own a smart phone and don’t carry my laptop with me wherever I go, so the notebook is helpful. I’d never remember any of my ideas without it — that’s what old age will do for you.
Sometimes I give myself assignments, as I have the last few weeks. I’m editing my first book, and I wanted two chapters to be finished each week. In order to do this, I have to rearrange my Real Life schedule. I don’t write well at night, but can go like gangbusters between the hours of two and five p.m. I’m fully awake, there’s plenty of natural light, and my husband isn’t home from work yet. If I have to get to work by 7:30 so I can leave at 2, then so be it.
The person who is working with me on the second book gave me an assignment. He will tell you that I came up with some doozy excuses within the first couple of emails. Finally I sat down one day for a few hours and pumped it out. Wasn’t perfect, but I had to sit down and JUST WRITE.
For those of you who have writer’s block (not my problem, my problem is with time), just sit down. Take your pen and paper or laptop or typewriter and JUST WRITE.
Last night, I told my daughter I wished I had written down the silly stories she and her brother used to make up when they were little. I told myself at the time that I would remember them later and then write them down.
You know what happened, don’t you? (I could have had a lucrative career as a children’s book author. Not now. Not with my poor memory. )
If you only have a minute, write a thank you note. Address it to your spouse, your child, your parents, your favorite teacher from high school. Start writing and don’t stop until you have filled up a page.
Write a description of your day, your house, your yard. Describe your car and why you like/don’t like it. Write about your favorite place.
On my more hurried days, I try to finish a one-page story. One of them was a fictional account using a quirky guy in my jewelry class. One was called “Perfectly Plaid,” the name of the notebook I am using. Take a small piece of life and expound. Tell the story of your pet’s day from their perspective — that’s a good one.
Tell yourself you are a writer, then sit down and JUST WRITE.
Believe me, with practice, it gets easier.