Thoughts on Writing and Blank Pages

It’s been difficult for me to get to my new manuscript and I realize September is gone and the first draft is still sitting, almost untouched next to my computer and although the bones of the story are in place, I have a lot more polishing to do before it is complete.

Why do writers sometimes stall out? I can’t speak for everybody, but here are my reasons:

1. Reading

I am currently reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami on my new Amazon Kindle and I can’t put it down. Past experience has taught me that when I am deep into my own manuscript, I have to discipline myself to put away all pleasure reading until I am tucked into bed and the day’s work is done. In fact, it’s not such a bad idea to put all reading aside while working on a manuscript. If imagination is finite, it’s better I give all of mine to my own creative process and sacrifice reading for pleasure, at least for a short period of time.

2. Sleep

I can’t write if I am sleep deprived and I’ve realized that I’ve going to bed late and getting up early. So it’s time to start refusing dinner invites, etc… and hitting the sack at a decent hour. This may seem obvious but it is not always easy to do.

3. Exercise

Well, this has gone completely by the wayside. No more excuses! Ski fit begins next week and taking a daily walk will help both my mind and body. My excuse over the last month has been that I just don’t have the time, but I realize I don’t have to go for a two-hour bike ride; half an hour is better than nothing.

4. Friends

I love my friends, but I need to be a lot firmer about my working hours. Just because I work at home, doesn’t mean I have time to talk on the phone, go shopping or visit between the hours of 8 -3pm. So, on that note, it’s time to return to cafe writing. I can get a lot done in three hours if I am just not available. It’s up to me to set the guidelines on this one, and I just have not been doing it.

5. Family

At this stage in a manuscript the house will be messy, dinner might not happen and those tomatoes outside may die on the vine. The cat will be fed because she is incapable of cooking her own meals. Everyone else is. I’m just saying…

6. Grant Writing

Thank God that is done! It takes almost as long to apply for a grant as it does to outline a new novel. Finger’s crossed that this time a little money comes my way…

7. Excuses

No more for me! I’ve got commitments which I will live up to, but starting now, I will be unavailable for four hours every single day until this manuscript is ready to send off to my agent.

This post might prove helpful to other writers, but it is also a strong reminder to me about how to organize my writing life and personal life so that both get the attention needed without sacrificing one for the other.

It’s important to have fun and not become too serious when in the thick of writing a novel. Explore other creative outlets, but don’t get too distracted.

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2 Comments

Filed under Writing Tips

2 responses to “Thoughts on Writing and Blank Pages

  1. Christine

    Hope you don’t mind if I post this on my Wandering Pen FB page. I think the followers of the page will find it interesting just as I did. Thanks Julie for posting and for your honesty.

  2. I’d be honoured it you used this on your Wandering Pen and happy if it helps other writers out!
    Julie

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