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It's been a long time since I've had the kind of writer's block where you sit and stare at a blank page with literally no clue what comes next and no way to get the next words typed. I've had 'I need to get from A to B and I'm not sure what to use for a bridge'. I've had 'the next thing I need to write is something I suck at... and even though I've got a beta who can help me revise, the fact that everything I write next will almost have to be revised is killing my desire to write at the moment'. But...

Ok. A long time ago, I realized that when I was in college, majoring in English Lit, I was regularly writing 10–25-page papers. If they weren't handed in on time without a valid excuse or an extension granted prior, you got docked a half-grade for each day late. (A would become A-; A-, B+, etc.)

And not once did I ever hear of a classmate asking for an extension or not handing in a paper because "I just wasn't inspired." "My muse died". "I had writer's block." Somehow, some way, if you knew that there would be consequences for not writing... writing happened. It might not have been good, but it was there.

And I decided that maybe I could be my own slave-driver, instead of having a teacher and a transcript hanging over me. That was about four years ago. Now, I have taken an occasional night off. When I go out of town to visit my parents, I take a two-week vacation. Mostly because I don't own a laptop or a tablet and any writing I do at my parents' house, would be on their desktop. And then, I would have to email myself that writing, or upload to Googledocs or something... and delete it from my parents' computers and... I'd probably in such a rush to head home that I'd forget. But when I sit down to write a scene, I write it. I don't wait for inspiration. I write something... anything and I get it done.

I took on a Yuletide pinch-hit with less than a week to go. I had a premise, but no plot. So I wrote about 5 pages before I figured out where I was going with it... but I did figure it out. And then, three pages later, it was done. I uploaded it tonight. Yes, it still needs a beta, but there's time for it.

Having a deadline helped. But having my 'writing muscles' in shape from four years of regular exercise helped a lot more.

This entry was originally posted at http://dragonbat2006.dreamwidth.org/51481.html. Please comment there using OpenID.



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