Once again it’s been awhile, almost a whole season in fact. Three months, and what do I have to show for it?
A couple of chapters in my novel, that’s what. Is it a lot? Nah. Is it more than I had accomplished in the 12 months prior? Yah.
It’s important not to get wrapped up in the things you have yet to do (in my case, the rest of this novel, which may be another ten chapters, may be another fifteen or twenty WHOOOO KNOOOOWWWWS), but rather to focus on the shit in front of you.
Non-writing example: I’ve recently received a metric fuckton of packages, as I’ve been ordering a lot of stuff online cuz I’m a big weeaboo nerd and packages are like midyear Christmas hooray. However, I’m lazy as hell so I’d been just kinda tossing the boxes off to the side and saying ILL DEAL WITH YOU LATER CARDBOARD.
Well it piled up and when the time came to finally do the deed of cleaning, I looked at all the shit I had to do and was overcome by a palpable sense of dread. It looked like hours, days worth of work that needed to be done. I didn’t want to do it. I went so far as to go hang out in my brother’s old room just to get away from the problem for a few minutes (like a half hour). But eventually I went back in there, put on the teevee, and just grabbed one box. The smallest box. Took my box cutter, cut it up into a few pieces, and stuffed it in a big ol’ trash bag.
Then I grabbed a bigger box, and said FUCK IT I CAN USE THIS, and went into a cabinet full of stuff I needed to toss, and tossed some stuff into the box and wrote TOSS on the side and put the box aside to be disposed of later.
And so on and so forth until all but three of the boxes have been dealt with – one needs to be stored in my home somewhere, one needs to be presented to friends to see if they want anything inside before it is discarded, and the third is a big long fuckoff box that I have yet to decide what to do with.
Apply this to writing. When I look at what needs to be done, and start worrying about the massive task ahead of me, I have a headache and run off to YouTube or Facebook or XVideos or something to distract myself. However, unlike running to my brother’s room (which is small and kind of claustrophobic and really hot this time of year), I can spend all day running to those places and never look back to get the job started. It’s super easy to just ignore the problem.
Some people solve this problem by using programs designed to block certain websites for certain amounts of time. I’d considered it, but I’m more likely to just never use the program or turn it off early or something like that. Some people solve this problem by only writing on a machine that isn’t internet connected. I haven’t considered this because in my opinion the internet is a powerful research tool and I’ve found myself needing it mid-writing stream to find out if I’m talking (or writing) out of my ass.
How do I solve the problem? Well, I don’t have a consistent, every-day solution, but a part of any solution I come up with is picking up the smallest box, grabbing my box cutter, and getting to work on the little things. A paragraph. A sentence, even.
Sometimes all I do is a bit of world building or rebuilding. Sometimes I write a whole chapter. It’s not quite consistent, but art never is.
P.S. I uploaded my novel to Google Docs and I write at work sometimes. I close my department and I’m alone for up to 2 hours at the end of each day so when it’s not busy I have plenty of time to write. Sure, sometimes I spend that time on forums or making blog posts, but sometimes I get the spark and write. I can’t officially recommend this as if my manager found out my balls would be ground into a fine paste and sold as animal feed, but if you’re down to take the risk give it a shot.