Monday, September 22, 2014

Advice For Writers #3: Distractions Called Life

Life brings a lot of things. Joy, sorrow, tears, happiness, new babies, and of course, the eventual fate, the infamous and endless reaper, death. Those are just a few examples of distractions life brings. The trouble is finding a balance. Should we spend more time writing? Should we spend more time with our mothers? Mother-in-laws? Well, we definitely don't want to spend time with future mother-in-laws or current mother-in-laws. They are certainly a chore.

And yes, I do realize that I posted last week's "Advice for Writers." Well, I'm taking over it for Week 3. Alex Steele will be back next week. I myself do not know what advice she will be giving to you, fellow writers and awesome readers. 

Note: This post is more serious than the other posts I've written. I'm aiming for sentimental. But I'll accept serious.

What happens:

For me, writing is fun. I love it. Fictional writing is the place where I can imagine and let my inner child run free. Book reviews are the places for me to reflect on the book I recently read. Essays... Well, that is a much different story. I loathe essays, because those things have a strict format and must be logical (must have beginning and end). Even worse is that it is graded and judged by your peers, your teachers, your parents, and everyone relevant to that subject.

Anyway, it is so easy for me to just write. Write for hours. Write without stopping. Sometimes, I get a rude awakening from life. Some examples include breakfast, parents, siblings, relationship problems, and health. Oh, and chore. I can't forget about that tedious thing.

Then your life and writing starts going over a battle of wills. Maybe I should wash that week-old laundry (you definitely should) or start on that plot bunny (it might run away!). Your mother starts calling up and wondering where you had been all these weeks (because you were compelled to write an autobiography about yourself or other things). And then your dad threatens to not help you with financial loans and simple math problems. Honestly, it could go a bit crazier.

If I write on non-stop for eight hours straight each day, I can probably finish a novel every eleven days (assuming I have enough ideas). But that is not the way life works. That is not the way you should be writing. Unless you are in NaNoWriMo and barely had done anything at all.

How to find balance:

Some of us need that seeked balance between life and writing, reality and fantasy. And to tell your the truth, going back into the reality isn't a bad thing. It actually makes you more experienced in life and a better writer at heart, because you know how these things work and you had been there before. 

But that isn't the trouble. If you spend so much time writing, you'll be nagged by Life. If you spend time living your life, you have doubts about your writing/are concern about how little writing you'd done for the last couple of days. It is like a tug of war. Both sides will always fight until you give up one. 

My recommendation for that problem is to live your life but also keep your writing within reach. Let's say you have an iPhone. The useful thing about an iPhone is that you can store countless plot ideas in the Notes app. Keep that within reach whenever your light bulb goes off. Or you can do the old-fashion way, which is to use a notebook. Then you go through day and write for two good hours without many distractions (tell your friends and family to not bother you in the intervals of those hours and make sure you use a timer). You'll probably be finished with your novel by the end of the month. 

Or two months, depending on how fast or slow you write/type. 

What you get in the end:

In the long run, you'll have a bunch of drafts (time to start editing!) and start showing your stuff to your family and friends. But if you feel that you aren't writing enough, you can always push it up to three hours. Either way, you will avoid being sucked in by writing (unless you ignore the timer) and dodge bullets from late bills. But that isn't all.

You'll feel good about yourself, and that is the most important thing. 

Happy Writing!

-Penelope Grace

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