Michaeline: Getting to the Magic of Writing

Escape the things that are dragging you down, and get back into the magic of writing!

Escape the things that are dragging you down, and get back into the magic of writing! Via Wikimedia Commons, Benvenuti

I talked about positive triggers last week. I generally find that once I sit down to write, I can write something. But I’ve fallen off the writing horse more than a few times, so sometimes just getting into the saddle and putting my fingers to the keyboard can be a huge struggle. Creating a time slot, and having alternatives can be essential to creating a daily habit of writing.

First, let me get the negative out of the way. Know what your time-wasting triggers are. For me, if I check the mail, I’m out of the writing mode unless I can somehow majorly re-set my day (for example, I could take a nap, or change my venue). I have found that I can read Continue reading

Michaeline: Heigh-ho, Trigger!

Queen Isabella in a luxurious riding habit on a horse, surrounded by supporters

Heigh-ho, Trigger, away! (Oh, yeah, Trigger was the cowboy’s horse. Still, same concept. Get on the horse and ride.) (Queen Isabella brought to you via Wikipedia Commons.)

I’m talking about anti-procrastination this month, and I’ve got another link-heavy post, but I hope you find it useful. Last week I talked about using hypnosis to boost your motivation. I know it sounds crazy, but many writers talk about how the process of writing is a trance. In this YouTube video, Stephen King said, “You fall into a kind of a trance if you do the same passes over and over.” He’s talking about setting up habits and triggers. Eating breakfast with his wife, having a pot of tea, and so on. These things tell his backbrain, it’s time to write.

Musician and novelist Nick Cave also called the creative process “an altered state in itself” when he talked with NPR recently. “I wake. I write. I eat. I write. I watch TV.” It’s worth listening to his interview to get a really no-nonsense sense of process (and be sure to read the transcript for extra thoughts).

So, if writing is a trance, it helps to set up triggers to put you into this trance. Continue reading

Michaeline: When Procrastination is About Rebellion

The Girls vs. The Inner Censor (An epic battle across time and space.) via Wikimedia Commons

The Girls vs. The Inner Censor (An epic battle across time and space.) via Wikimedia Commons

One of the big benefits of visiting blogs is that you can think about writing problems in terms of someone else – and then you realize the same solutions apply to your writing problems. Somewhere I commented that I have a real problem with authority telling me what to do (the context was GPS navigation systems) when I realized that maybe this was at the root of my procrastination problems, too. My Girls are in rebellion against the Inner Censor. Continue reading

Michaeline: A Magic Bullet for Procrastination?

St. Jerome wonders if there's any yogurt left in that pot next to the hearth. Via Wikimedia Commons. By Leonello Spada.

St. Jerome wonders if there’s any yogurt left in that pot next to the hearth. Via Wikimedia Commons. Leonello Spada.

Um, no. But, it might be helpful.

We’ve talked about procrastination before, but this article from The Atlantic online suggests that it is perfectly normal for writers to be procrastinators. And there are two helpful hints for overcoming procrastination.

1) Set your deadline to begin slightly AFTER the time you should begin in order to shock yourself into beginning. (I’m one of those persons who sets a few strategic clocks ahead a few minutes to make myself believe I’m running late so I move a little faster. Well, that’s the theory. What actually happens is that I set my clock two minutes early, say, “Oh! The time! Oh, yeah, I’m OK, I still have two minutes.” And still wind up five minutes late. I realized the folly this year when I read this old Dear Prudie column, and started setting all my clocks for the right time, AND THE WORLD DIDN’T FALL APART. This advice for setting alarms a little later might work for me, now that my clocks are all on the right time.) Continue reading