Monday, April 4, 2011

Tricks to Write Consistently

I used to write very consistently, every day.  Of course, that was before I had a rewarding, but draining, job; this was also before I had anything closely resembling a life, as well.  Now I have both, and the caveat to that, which in a million years I never would have foreseen, is that I don't do as much writing anymore.  Sitting down and getting into a writing zone now takes more time than the actual writing itself used to.  I just can't focus; I can't shut my mind down on my day, or things coming up, etc. and focus on what I need to write.

If you've read this blog for awhile, you saw entries on all of my ideas about viruses, vampires (of course; though in my defense, I started The Gravediggers in the mid-90s, before it actually became something that everyone and their brother wrote), concentration camps, WW2, and all of the other things I've mentioned as ideas.  I have a million of them, and I start things, and then I get excited about something else, or my career rears its head, or I simply lose focus on writing in general--and everything just peters out.  All of those great ideas, all of that energy and positive feeling...just...drift away.

Reading a lot used to help.  Now, all of that reading time is all I've got for creative time, so all reading, no writing.  Reading used to help writing--until about two years ago.  Then a few months ago, I started taking pictures that tied into my writing, and that helped a lot...for a few months.  Now that I've taken all the pictures I can take, that process is of little help now.  These days, it's all photos, no writing.

Then, a few days ago, I realized that I hadn't written any poems in a long time.  While I would never say I was a gifted poet--or even a good one--I can say that writing poems would focus me, ground me into whatever I was writing at the time.  The poems themselves didn't have to correlate with whatever project I was working on at the time--though they sometimes did--but the very process of writing them apparently would hone my focus to such a degree that I was able to work on my longer creations.  Somehow, as so often happens to hyper and unfocused people like me, I stopped doing that, got sidetracked, and never went back.

So now I will work on poems again, and although Frost and Dickinson don't need to worry about their posterity, maybe, just maybe, some present-day novelists should be looking over their shoulders and not ignoring the dustcloud that just kicked up a long, long way back, just ahead of the horizon behind them.  Wish me luck, everyone, and if you have any tricks to help me along, I'll gladly listen.

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