Tricking yourself into writing

by Claudia Blood

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I have to trick myself into writing.

Yes, I want to be a writer, but writing is HARD. Daydreaming about stories is almost as satisfying as writing them down and far easier. There’s none of that messy grammar or infestation of typos or the pull of everyone’s ideas on the ‘right’ way to write.

Half of you read that sentence and thought ‘your grammar sucks’, the other half thought ‘oh she used the rhetorical device called polysyndeton’, the other half didn’t notice. See? So hard.

But, sigh, I really want to be a writer even with all the rejection, self-doubt, and getting on lists because of my internet searches.

The first trick I tried to make myself write was giving myself a deadline. Yeah, that didn’t work. A year had passed and I still hadn’t finished anything. Started? Yes. Finished, not so much. I was a wuss and couldn’t be my own accountability-buddy.

I tried getting with some writing buddies. I did get some work finished, but as soon as someone cut me slack, I took advantage of it and stopped finishing. My best month was when I participated in a ‘short story a day’ challenge. I posted the story on a shared google drive where my buddies could see it. I did 26 stories that month. There was something about the possibility of my buddies reading them that had me staying up late to finish. For the record, they never did look.

Was there another way I could have that same dynamic? That’s when the idea of the blog struck. If I got in the habit of sitting and writing something, it would eventually turn into finished stories. Right? I might be missing some dots, but it was a start.

The blog was born with no fanfare and no followers. But that’s okay; I could pretend I had followers. It would be the same principle that worked for me before. I set up to have a post everyย Monday.

I made my deadlines for a while, but it was hard and took way too much time. Trying to figure out what to write in a post was like trying to pick out just one dessert at the restaurant.ย  Near impossible.

I was whining to a writer friend about the difficulty I was having when she mentioned it could be my lack of focus. That sounded suspiciously like an F word. Those are bad, right? To be avoided at all costs?

Eventually, I found my desperately needed spirit guide, Focus Fox. Had I discovered a trick to make writing blog posts easy? Wow, I could bottle it and sell it. And… Ahem.

While I didn’t make a killing on eBay with my insta-easy sauce, I did discover that I was spending more and more time actually writing. And as I spent more time writing, it did get easier to finish what I started. Never easy, mind you, just easier.

So that’s the story of how I started my blog and ended up with the two different weekly posts.

I feel like there ought to be a moral. Like the sleeping writer never writes or don’t count your stories before they hatch or the watched writer never boils. Huh, I’ll keep working on those.

Claudia Blood is a writer, blogger, and geek living in Rochester, MN. She has a tiny issue with focus and has drafted a fantasy romance called Book of Secrets, a six-part Sci-fi series called Relic, and, strangely enough, a fantasy about a supernatural daycare. When she is not writing, or chasing her two young kids, Claudia works in IT where she slaves away for the man. You can check Claudia out over at her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

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62 thoughts

  1. For me, it’s always been in me to write. I can’t *not* write. However, my setback with regards to writing was the fact that I spent years and years creating fan fiction and not original stories. It was nearly instant gratification to post a chapter on and get followers, likes, and comments, especially in a fandom as big as Harry Potter. The universe and characters were already there. I just played with them, like countless others. And I loved it! Enjoyed it immensely!

    But deep inside, I knew I wanted, needed to write original stories, to be a published author. That was the hard work. That was intimidating, scary. One day a little over three years ago, I told myself I would sit down and write for 15 minutes a day. Just 15 minutes of original stuff and see what happens. Here I am, those three years later, with two published books, a third coming out later this year, two full unpublished manuscripts, and working on another. I also joined a writers group at my local library that meets every other Saturday afternoon. We read and critique each other’s stuff. I get invaluable feedback and have made several friends. Had I never written a word of original stuff? No books. No writer friends. I share my story as an example of not allowing fear of failure to hold anyone back.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. After not writing a single thing for months, I’ve been having a hard time getting back into it. This morning I set my self a goal of a story a day for the next 30 days. Day one is complete and it makes me motivated to get to tomorrow. I happened across your blog post today and it struck a chord. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I just gave myself a deadline for my novel today – August 30th – and I’m sticking to it. Sometimes I have to trick myself into writing too. I’ve started hoping on my elliptical, daydreaming about my novel and career, and then I feel ready to focus on writing. Burn the anxious energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Claudia, I have thoughts about a particular character sitting at her kitchen table for so long and have never been able to write about her. I am pretty keen to find out what she does next but there’s been something holding me back. I’m writing other things but she’s still waiting!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Daydreaming about stories is almost as satisfying as writing them down and far easier.” — So true! I spent years doing this and the longer you formulate and reformulate them in your head, the harder it is to write them down. The scenes/stories never seem to sound as good on paper as they did in your head.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s very difficult to maintain focus I’m currently 3 chapters in and have had to take a break to build more motivation before i start again, it’s very slow process indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe start with writing down scenes and events you remember? Even though it’s a different genre, when I write fiction, I always start with the most pivotel or interesting scene first, then I go from there, like a ripple in a pond.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I think you have a real flare for writing – from the first sentence I was drawn in. Never stop following your dream! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can definitely relate! The daydreaming part is especially true. It seems so easy in my head, but writing it down usually takes so much effort to even get it close to how I’d imagined.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m doing a 30 day writer’s boot camp, and that seems to be helping me actually sit down everyday and do something, but I’m not sure I’ll keep doing it once the month is over.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel you! I started to write my own book some months ago and even if I really love the stor and am 100% convinced that it is going to be good I always have to force myself to sit down an write! And then I also started my blog which doesn’t make it easier, but thanks for sharing that


  11. I identified the same issue! Focus. Touched on it in my first blog post. I agree, I think blogging may help me get into the daily habit of writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I had a tough time focusing, especially when I started taking writing seriously back in mid-2015, but by doing a little each day, even twenty minutes, is better than nothing. Take small steps and soon you’ll develop a habit and in time, you’ll be forcing writing into your day. It takes a bit of time, but do a little each day, and soon you’ll be rocking and rolling.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Focus is tough. For me, heading out to the local Barnes and Noble at a specified time with the sole purpose to write has helped me immensely. On a good Saturday or Sunday morning, I can usually crank out 10-12 pages in a three to four hour period; 20 if I really hit as streak and pump out the words. Great blog, glad I follow you.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I really enjoyed this and it’s all true! Guilty! Of everything she wrote in her blog here. There’s a blogger follow she’s taken a year of her blog posts and put them in a book uploaded to KDP and it sold well! She’s written about 14 or 15 books all together. I thought that’s genius and I wonder “will I ever finish my books? Working on 2. And, I use Grammarly! I think that’s what it’s called. I’m going to check out her blog!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, I saw you over at my blog as well. That does sound like a lovely idea. I do think about putting the focus fox together in a book once I have enough of them. For some reason it feels like it needs to have pictures. I just added a whole extra layer of hard. ๐Ÿ™‚ Still a good idea.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I read your blog as I was flitting from one delaying activity to the next. I totally understand. Please send Focus Fox over so I can get some help in that department.
    Still procrastinating ..

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I understand. I can tell those days when I think about moving furniture to vacuum under rather that start writing. I did learn a silly trick that sometimes helps. Tell yourself you are sitting down for JUST five minutes. Half the time I end up writing for an hour by starting with five.

      Liked by 2 people

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