Monday, 12 December 2011

Enemies of the writer

There are so many things that can stand in the way of your writing time. Know what they are and beat 'em.

The Internet
Do you really need to find a present for Aunt Betty online, right this moment? Do you even have an Aunt Betty? If you really, really need to do research online, write a list of the things you need to know and tick them off as you answer them. Then turn the Internet OFF. Unless you do the Internet will eat away at your writing time.

Why is it always a case that when you actually have to sit down and write you suddenly decide to clean out the refrigerator/do the vacuuming/take a duster to the cobwebs that have been at that corner of the ceiling for years?

Perhaps if you’re avoiding writing so often, you should ask yourself if you should be writing at all. A writer is someone who has a compulsion to write.

Reading other writers who make you feel like you don't deserve to kiss their pen.
Hence the reason I'm not reading Stephen King's latest novel. He tells a great story and writes it well. I try to. I try to.

Games computer games, Internet games, card games, games you play in your head.
Do you want to waste time that you could be writing finding hidden objects or getting solitaire out? Yet, we've all been there. Just don't get sucked in. If you must play games do it to give yourself a break after some kick ass writing.

Social networking
Are you genuinely making friends and sharing your writing woes or just killing time? Set yourself a decent amount of time to tweet, Facebook, Google or whatever. DO NOT EXCEED THAT TIME.

Is it really too difficult to get notepads, pens and station them around the house? Too much good writing and too many ideas are lost because you never wrote them down. If you're outside the home make sure you have something to capture your ideas. Many mobile phones have note functions and voice recorders. Use them.

Being a perfectionist
Stop expecting every word you write to be perfect - I have a habit of doing this. Get it down then edit/perfect it later. You can’t expect to get your writing to flow if you keep on stopping every sentence to rewrite and rewrite.

I recently discovered (by accident) that the publisher of two of my self-help books, were giving them away free as ebooks without my knowledge. Whilst I was okay with them giving away e copies with the paperback version, I thought giving them away for heehaw was a step too far. I'm now taking legal advice.

Finding out about my hard work being exploited like that cost me a day's work and a week's worry. Then I realised that I was allowing this publisher to steal my writing time and I put a stop to it by sending off the corresepondance I needed and forgetting about it.

Note – Always make copies of every contract or commission form your received and keep them in a safe place. Also scan copies into your computer. It can be so easy to lose contracts when you move home.


  1. A lot of these are easier said than done, Jen. Especially the perfectionist one, but you're right of course. Good post.

  2. Thanks Col. I know. I'm guilty of them all:)

  3. Excellent post, and all spot-on advice.

  4. You forgot to mention reading blogs. Gah!


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