The reader's question was (and I'm paraphrasing):
During the past year, I've struggled to focus on my writing. Life has intruded into my work, forcing me to push it to the back burner while I deal with other issues. Unfortunately when I do find the time to write, I find myself becoming bored or easily distracted. I'm close to calling it quits, but I want to write. Do you have any advice?
I have had this problem before. The world is creeping in and I'm busy trying to balance family problems, job, finding a new job, paying bills, the car is breaking down, my love life is in shambles, my health is fading, and on and on and on. You get to be so busy putting out fires and shoring up your life that there's nothing left of you when you find five minutes to sit down behind a computer and write. But I don't think it's time to call it quits.... If I had, there never would have been a Dark Days series, let alone an Asylum Tales series.
|Puppy Max playing tennis|
- The reduction of stress will get your imagination pumping again.
- Being out and moving opens you up to new experiences, which in turn gets your imagination pumping.
- Relaxing helps to recharge your batteries and put a smile on your face
- Lost its initial direction and gone astray
- Isn't as strong as you initially thought
You need to open up a blank page and work on something else for a time. Drag out something you abandoned years ago or play with something completely new. Tell yourself: "This is just for fun. No one is going to ever see this. This is just for me." Create a world and play. Write some fan fiction if that's what floats your boat. Play in a genre you've never worked in before. The key is to get some words on the page. That will break through the stress of not writing and you'll be proud of your accomplishment.
Sometimes the key is just breaking through the dam to get the words flowing again. When I'm feeling stressed about a project and can't get anything to start flowing, I pull out a side project and play with it. After a few days, I'm usually eager to jump back into the original project because I have a new idea.
And that's the key: a new idea. Don't jump back to the original because you feel like you have to but because you've got a new idea that you're dying to try out on the page.
If you don't have a new idea and are still bored with the original project, but are determined to complete it, then we're going to have to triage the story and complete a little surgery to find the underlying problem. However, this post has gone on long enough, so I'll save that section for Monday.