Hope For Distracted Writers

For months the fact that we had written a book went unmentioned. The years of blood, sweat, and yes - the tears that were shed were pushed aside but never really forgotten. Hey, we were busy doing other things - odd jobs to help pay for college tuition, tending to the teenagers we each have still living at home, fighting "50." You know how it is, the important things in life need attention, so our passion project got booted to the back of the line.

The novel that we wrote, edited twice, and pitched at a writers conference (receiving some encouraging feedback) nearly withered up to die a lonely, disappointing, never-to-be-published death.

What. A. Shame.

Don't be Andrea and Denise

It would come up occasionally, "Ugh, I wish we could be writing right now, but..." Those buts got bigger and bigger. Our part-time jobs sucked the life out of us full-time. And while writing is something we love to do, our novel wasn't paying the bills - realistically, it wouldn't be doing so any time soon. It seemed the farther away we got from our last editing session, the distance to potentially getting it published doubled. And that was discouraging.

Thankfully we snapped out of our funk and figured a few things out.

1. Make it a priority.

We repeat, make writing a priority. Set aside time each day to work solely on your WIP. You see, our first mistake was considering our "writing a book" of secondary importance to other "real life" distractions. Dealing with these things are important - the work, the kids, the aging body. We get it. But once we started treating writing like our dream job - and scheduling it into our work week as such - things really started to hum along.

2. Be accountable.

Tell people what you're doing. "I'm writing a book." Say it. Out loud. Now say it again, try it in French (or with your best French accent). Post it on social media. Tell your mom. Mention it to the lady that won't make eye contact with you in the elevator. Yeah, it's going to get annoying because everybody is going to ask you about it. But that's what we need - seriously, how can we not finish writing a book when our moms say they can't wait to read it?

3. Visualize the goal.

Visualize yourself writing, editing, finishing your book. Visualize yourself pitching to an agent, or publisher. Visualize yourself going to bookstores, or book clubs, or libraries and seeing your book on the shelf. Whatever it is, see it in your mind's eye and make it happen. See yourself sitting on the couch on the set of Ellen, laughing it up with your new best friend as she tells her audience and the rest of the world to read your book. Wait, what's that? Everybody in the audience gets a free copy? YES PLEASE! Ok, so that's a lofty goal, but you get the point.

4. Take a break.

Sounds counterintuitive, but it works. We don't mean a big break, just take some time to give your writing/editing brain a rest when you need it. Take a walk. Clean the bathroom. Go to a bookstore. Meet a friend for coffee. Lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling for an hour. Whatever it takes to reset your creative brain. Then get back to it.

5. Find your tribe.

This might seem like a distraction, but the encouragement and feedback we have gained from a supportive writing community has been invaluable. Check out local authors, buy their book. If they're speaking somewhere, go and listen to them speak. Follow and engage with other writers on social media - ask how their process is going. We're not saying, be a stalker, just be social. Find a writers conference or literary fest and attend. Communing with other writers makes us feel more like writers. And you know what writer's do...

WE WRITE.

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.
— Stephen King