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#road block – 51 free days left

September 25, 2011

First of all: Big shout out for and congratulations to Sam Lee for finishing a difficult short story this weekend. Hope you put it up in a post with a cover and everything, so I can link to it! :-)

I am getting a grip on my own problems right now. Tomorrow I will calmly sit down and come up with some solutions and then enact them. Let’s see how much I can still write before September is through.

Mostly it’s a mental thing. I try to get better and therefore the writing has continouusly gotten harder. I will have to allow myself to become sloppy again. Have some more fun.

 

Edit: Here is the link to Sam’s short story: A city in the desert.

Solarian Space Marines encounter a city on a desert planet that was supposed uninhabited. Their mission to survey the planet for a raw material colony is scrapped for staying alive in the face of threats from all directions. Will they succeed in keeping themselves one step ahead of an enemy bent on destroying them at all costs?

 

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8 Comments
  1. Thanks for the shout, Eric! No, don’t link to that one, link to the one that sells a lot, Outrunning Zombies. LOL. :P

    Go read DWS’s Challenge update post and comment, if you haven’t already. That’ll remind you not to make a story an event, and to NOT slow down to think about the story. Just write it and be done with it.

    Don’t forget, your goal is to finish and post stories, not to necessarily write 5k/day. That could be as little as 2.5-3k, so just grind ’em out and chalk the completed story up to another day of practice. :)

  2. LOL. Thanks for the link.

    BTW, where are you stuck, or do you not know yet? Let me know if I can help you brainstorm past the block so you can get a story up today. (Unless you’re taking a day off. In that case, my bad.)

    Another idea is…why not write some stories in German? I saw a bunch of those on Smashwords recently, and it might loosen up your self-inhibitions. That, and write erotica again if you’re stumping yourself with SF. ;-)

    • It’s just some kind of deadlock. Self-editing, inner critic, that sort of thing. Logically I know: I can’t improve my own writing. I have to have beta readers tell me “More descriptions!”, “Less descriptions!”, “Better character voices!” and then bust out two or three stories with that particular element dialed up to eleven.
      It’s not that I can’t or don’t write, it’s just, as long as I don’t emotionally know that I will have to spin these yarns of the top of my head, I will write at a quarter the speed. And I also have trouble keeping that up for more than five hours.
      I will get better. Simply because I don’t give up and take a new approach each day. Right now I have quit TV series and movies. No entertainment for me besides reading or making up stories. Last time I did that was at the beginning of this project and it made my reading quadruple.
      So yes, any help welcome of course.
      Writing stories in German wouldn’t work for me, though. Ironically enough, my English vocabulary is bigger. I frequently struggle in German coversations, because English expressions pop into my head that have no counterpart in the German language.

  3. Hmm, giving up the TV and movies for the moment seems to be helping, so I’d stick with that, too. Don’t forget to give yourself play time every day, though, or those hours will drag. Could you be more specific about what you’re deadlocking on? When are you writing (before or after reading?), and when and what mental situations are you avoiding writing (or finishing)? Actually, are you not-writing or not-finishing (my problems, lol), or are you falling down at #4 (put it up for sale)? Are you eating sugar and carbs, which makes your brain work like molasses on a cold day? lol.

    Yeah, so I’m still not quite sure what your deadlock is, but I bet it’s one of those things that by the time you figure it out, you’ll know how to fix it or be on the way to fixing it. Maybe…mix it up? Do a toss-off fantasy story? What else do you like to read besides SF? Try writing something in that genre, or in a genre you know nothing about, and see what comes out. It just has to have a character, with a problem (usually more fun to have another person be their problem) in a setting, and trying to solve that problem in the story.

    Sounds like you’re making SF stories “events” and “important” and it’s tripping you up. Forget about an audience, just focus on putting SOMETHING up on a work day, as Ira Glass said. It worked for me, and it helps that I’m avoiding writing in my favorite genre to read until I hit the novel section of my writing challenge.

    I’ll be your deadline watcher if you like, but not if it keeps you from writing, because sometimes pressure helps us and sometimes it hurts us. Would a word challenge help? (Like, we both sit down and start writing and see who gets to 500/1000 etc faster, or in timed increments?) I think those are called word wars, actually. Or would my posting a story a day help you do the same?

    Let me know. I can always use a boost in the butt, and more importantly, I can’t leave a fallen high-volume writing challenger buddy behind enemy lines! :D

    • I’m a morning writer. I do my morning routine, sit down and write. I read in the evening, when I’m done with my writing.
      Lately this has been interrupted by streaming TV shows. Always easy to see when you got some perspective, but in the moment it’s seductive. Part of why I am becoming a writer is because I can’t withstand the lure of a good story.

      Then comes the aforementioned deadlock. It’s me trying to write better than I do. It’s me trying to write better stories. It’s a much harder way to write than just making it up like before. Hence it’s also easier to ‘take a break’ for… errr… six or seven hours. Also I have work to be done. Also I should probably not put off this chore or that chore. Procrastination becomes much easier when the task becomes harder, more mentally taxing.

      Full ACK (Computer scientist speak for ‘I completely agree’) on the SF story as event. It’s like those story about the pottery class you posted. I want to write one story that’s good and understand why it’s good and so forth, rather than bash out five and have one equally good among them. It’s messed up and flawed thinking for several reasons. I learned a lot of things really fast, but old habits die hard.

      My plan is simple, now:
      – Set up a strong daily routine again. I am a routine kind of writer, not an opportunistic one.
      – Playing instead of working when I’m sitting at my writing laptop
      – Making writing my number one priority of the day and not allowing myself to do anything else, until it’s done.

      Thanks for the boost, Sam. Always up for a word war, too, but please mind the time difference of seven to nine hours. ;)

  4. Good analysis from where I’m sitting! I try not to do anything on my writing laptop except writing and formatting, either, and it helps me condition myself to write whenever I get in front of it. I’m mostly a night writer, though, as I like to write without interruptions, and people tend to interrupt less (and make less noise) when they’re all asleep. LOL.

    Yep, story as event, right on the nose, especially in your chosen genre. (You should see the white knuckles and dithering I get with my genre.) Besides, you’ve already chosen the path of the many pots, rather than the one pot per year, remember? (308 stories–you madman! lol) You’re stressed from switching horses midstream, for one. lol.

    You know, I’m just reading some very neat stuff on procrastination that might help you rejigger your schedule for maximum productivity. It certainly blew my mind wide open, and, I think, is really helpful for writers (and other creatives). The desire to improve our storytelling shouldn’t be making us freeze up and keep us from practicing so we improve, right? Do the writing, but then also schedule in the fun time, so you don’t resent the time spent working. Bah, it’s coming out all weird, but I’ll make post about it.

    Oh, right, the day/time lag. Psssh. Doesn’t everyone go by GMT-5?! Sheesh. :P In any case, your brain’s English bias/blankouts = lol funny. Happens a lot to us polyglots, though.

    • If you write nights and I write days, we will certainly find some overlap to have our little word war. ;)

  5. True. It would have to be very late and very early, lol. That is quite the gap we’ve got. :P

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