Having an overactive imagination is sort of like having big, curly hair.
While it’s fun to play with and nice when other people comment about how unique it is …it’s still really hard to subdue!
As mentioned in other posts, I can literally spend a few days staring into space daydreaming. That’s nice and what not but this becomes a problem when I’m trying to write.
Sometimes, I will get so excited about a story I’m working on that I’ll pause to think about a few possible subplots or what’s going to happen next and before you know it I’ve played out the entire story in my head. Once the story’s been completed (completed in my head that is) I’m done with it and I can’t convince myself to write it because…it’s old news, I’m done!
Even as I’m typing this, I realize that what I’ve just said sounds a little crazy. But for some reason, that’s the way my short attention span and I function. So, what is the solution? It is this: I simply cannot sit around thinking about my story (or even sit down to outline a plot because just outlining somehow becomes a two-three hour session of me staring into my computer screen as I fantasize about all of the fun characters and plots taking shape in my head) ...I simply need to write.
So the key to getting the first draft of my manuscript done is to... WRITE!
Even if this involves me turning off my phone and locking myself in a room for a few days, skipping a meal or two here and there (which, believe me, is not going to kill me) and writing until it’s done.
It sounds drastic, but I love this whole crazy process of writing...and the end result (a story to share with others) isn't so bad either : )
Any thoughts, ideas or comments?
Do any other writers out there have this same "problem" with daydreaming instead of writing?
Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate your reading this!
Writing is a HUGE lesson in endurance as well as in learning to trust yourself.
The first step in the self-publishing process is to Write Your Story.
But, for the temporarily uninspired writer, this first "step" can seem more like a large and intimidating wall.
For a while, I was at a standstill, staring up at one such wall as I wondered, “Where did this thing come from? Why can’t I write?!”
It wasn’t that I ran out of ideas. The stories were there but to sit down and write them was an entirely different ballgame.
T his frustrating phase of starting stories without being able to finish them lasted for a few years…and then something awesome happened.
I’ve had a lot of part-time day jobs over the years and one of my jobs involved working as an interpreter/captionist for Deaf and hard of hearing university students.
One semester I found that I'd been assigned to a student who was scheduled to take a class called “ Professional Development for Plant Scientists (PLHL)”.
I’ll admit, the title of the course made me cringe- it sounded like the kind of class I’d need to take with a few extra shots of espresso.
Boy was I wrong!
That semester, I learned very little about plants, but I learned a valuable lesson about writing.
The Professor, an adorable and quirky sixty-something year old New Yorker with a jazz musician’s shuffle in his step, loved to season his lectures with delicious tidbits about how he learned to write well and his love of music.
I’ll never forget the day that Professor taught his class one very simple, yet profound, lesson on writing.
He said, ‘When you want to write, just write. Don't edit your work while you're writing. Writing and editing are two DIFFERENT steps. First write and then later you can return to your finished paper for editing.'
Pretty simple, right?
Yeah, laughably simple! Even so, it was huge deal for me!
I think I actually stopped captioning for a moment when he said that and just stared in shock.
This one statement was the bulldozer to my “wall”, the daunting blockade I’d been banging my head against for far too many years!
Despite being extremely goal oriented, an innate lack of confidence in my own abilities had been stunting my endurance as a writer.
With an amazing story unfolding in my head, I’d put on my Itzhak Perlman music and begin to type. As my fingers rhythmically fell across the keyboard I’d fall into the daydream that was so vividly alive in my imagination. But an hour or so into it, I’d feel the need to pause and reassess what I’d written. Going back over my words was like a vicious slap in the face, pulling me out of my daydream and forcing me to face a few pages of writing in which every flaw stood out.
Reviewing what I’d written and hating every word, it wasn’t long before I’d talk myself out of finishing the story.
I didn’t have endurance as a writer because I didn’t trust my own abilities.
But in that science class about plants, I learned that you’ve got to push aside your negativity, hush the perfectionist lurking within and simply write your story.
Editing comes later, writing comes first.
I can honestly say, I’ve never been so thankful for a science class!
What tips have helped you move past writer’s block?