Sometimes, when I sit down to start work on my current project, I hit these…speed bumps. I suppose you could call it a kind of writer’s block, but it’s less of a block and more of a whiny, annoying distraction.
“Hey brain,” I say, “Let’s get going on this. The characters are in the middle of something. Now, they’ve got the shotgun, five chickens, and some lime jello powder. What next?”
And my brain replies, “You know what’s awesome? The trailer for The Hobbit. Or Fark. Or the huge collection of newsfeeds you follow. We should totally take a five minute break and go check those out. Then I’ll get to work, I promise.”
But it doesn’t. Because my brain is a liar.
Of course, I used to only realize this three hours later, when I’d looked at more hilarious mug shots than anyone should and read articles on everything from spider reproduction to solar flares. Interesting, but not terribly useful, unless I’m going to write about one of those. And then any chance of getting real writing done that day is usually well and proper fucked, because my brain is clearly not interested in what’s going on in the current project.
So lately I’ve been using a new system for getting around this mental short circuit. I got the idea from reading about Asimov and goggling at his productivity. (Seriously, does anyone besides me wonder if he was a robot?) I’ve started keeping several projects active, all of which require different things from me. For example, at the moment I…hang on, let me check my desktop….right, I have four projects open. One is a story idea I’m fleshing out and researching, adding bits to as they occur to me. One is a short story in the rough draft, vomiting-the-contents-of-my-brain-out-on-the-page stage. One is a longer fiction project that’s being edited and seriously rewritten. And one is this blog project, which I’m starting to think of as a ‘between the words’ dump. When I start to lose steam on whatever I’m working on that day, I flip over to this and start working on the next entry.
And, yeah, this makes me a bit of a project slut. But sometimes one project just doesn’t fill all my needs. I need more, man. Don’t judge me.
This way, I have something I can work on no matter what kind of brain I have that day. Creative brain? Story time. Research brain? Outlining. Analytical brain, armed with a gutting knife and a sewing needle? Editing and revising. And anything else, including whiny, can’t-think-of-anything-to-do brain? Blog.
I have to read my brain and figure out a way to make it productive, or I would waste all my time reading articles on Fark. And it doesn’t make it easy; my brain never wants the same thing two days in a row. But I’ve got its number now. Oh yes. And it will not hide from me.
And thus do I defeat the whiny and incredibly boring demons of writer’s block. Because they are fucking lame.
Anyone else have any dirty tricks they play on their own head?