I love some of the articles that Writer’s Digest sends me. In this case, it’s an article by author Andy Weir titled “4 Reasons You’re Procrastinating Instead of Writing.” It’s very short, but bang-on in terms of possible mental roadblocks to writing. I should know, since I’m guilty of several of the problems that Weir discusses.
Most importantly, Weir suggests several solutions to overcome these roadblocks to success. My particular favorite is #1, which is that you have no idea which story to focus on. At the moment, I’m actively working on finishing three short stories, a chapbook, and my first novel, and I have notes and wayward thoughts about maybe two dozen more stories, two sequels to my novel, four totally distinct novel series, and three additional stand-alone novels. Given the limited number of hours that most people can actually dedicate to their writing, it can be nerve-wracking sometimes trying to decide which project to focus on. Which one will be the most fun? Which one will be the most worthwhile? Weir’s solution to this is to write the first chapter (or maybe first page, for a short story) of each project, and then decide which one you’re drawn to the most and focus on that. I’ll be trying this out myself when I finish my in-progress stories and I’m trying to decide which one to work on next.
Weir also raises an excellent point about telling our friends about our ideas. Writing is very closely tied to a desire to entertain people with your stories, and Weir argues that if you describe a story idea to someone before you begin writing, you’re less likely to actually write it. “Your need for an audience has been sated,” as Weir says. I tend to be pretty close-mouthed about what I’m working on, but when I’m particularly excited about an idea I do like to share it, so I’ll have to be more careful about this from now on (sorry, everyone who likes to hear me ramble … so no one).
Anyway, check out the link above for the rest of Weir’s advice – and happy writing!