Thursday, May 03, 2012


I just came back from the eye doctor's, which is always a fun experience. It's weird to actually pay attention to what my eyes are doing and to try to challenge them, and it definitely makes me appreciate the normal, comfortable sight I enjoy every day (with the help of my glasses!). Life is a lot more rewarding when it's easy to  focus.

The same can be said about writing. When life gets busy, it's hard to give your writing projects the focus that they need. Sometimes, life doesn't even have to be the distractor--depending on your working style, problems within the project can also make you lose your focus. I've definitely had times when I just couldn't pay attention to my project, couldn't make myself push forward. I used to chew myself out for being lazy. But recently, I realized that the way I write, my brain doesn't allow me to move forward if there are big gaps or problems with the material behind me. I haven't added more than about 100 words to the current scene of my novel in over two weeks: I've been stuck because the two chapters before didn't work and I'd added some new characters that were shallow and boring. I went back and added a bunch of new material, learning a lot about the characters. The book is still growing, and I'm happy.

You see, right now, my life is being particularly distracting. But because I'm still engaging with my work, I'm still getting words down on the page. Last year, when I was working through wedding planning, I failed to identify the real problems within my work, and wound up disengaged from the project. I let myself get sidetracked with life issues, and I also got mad at myself for not working harder on the book. All that accomplished was making me feel really badly about myself.

Don't give up on your writing when you find yourself stalling or struggling. And don't blame your busy life, either. A busy life makes it difficult to concentrate on your writing, but your problems probably stem from your relationship to your characters and the story line. Clearly, the secret is focus!

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