Nothing in the Tank

Yesterday I tried to write and just fell flat every time I tried to start a story. So I’m looking for ways to make story starts easier.

Dean Wesley Smith had a post up yesterday about writers who are invested in not writing and a post up today on dealing with critical voice. For the last two years I’ve relied on these posts and words from Dean to straighten my spine. These are both excellent posts and if you are having trouble writing, I recommend a read-through. But it didn’t work for me. I suspect because my problem wasn’t critical voice, it was exhaustion.

How do I tell the difference? I think it is basically this. When my critical voice is hyper alert, it talks to me constantly, mostly saying things like, “That’s a bad idea.” “That’s no good.” And similar. When I’m exhausted, my critical voice and my creative voice are both fast asleep and neither speaks to me. All that is awake is the unreasoning animal part of me that wants to eat junk food, listen to podcasts, and sleep. In the future, I should take the animal part to bed and hope for better the next day.

There is a woman in the 20Booksto50K Facebook group that revealed her method for writing and publishing a book a month. She writes quite fast, about 2,500 words an hour and she’s frightfully organized. It gives me some glimmerings of ideas on how I can write faster and better. If you’ve never heard of 20Booksto50K, it’s well worth taking a look. The people there are amazing.

One idea I heard recently for getting over the first idea hurdle with a new story is to start the new story as soon as you complete the previous story. That way you only need to continue a story, which is often easier than getting a fresh idea. I may try that this week when I finish this week’s short story.

I continue to look for ideas to make getting started easier. I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that sleep comes first. I hope you are not battling exhaustion and are brimming over with creativity.

Be well, friends!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Beginnings may always be a bit of a challenge. Occasionally you’ll get an opening line that just sings, but for the most part, you’re starting a run from a dead stand still.

    On my current book, I had to tell myself to leave the opening a little messy and unfinished instead of cycling through and getting it clean and finished before progressing. I spend too much time on the opening ten chapters and often have to do redrafts to get myself oriented into the story. I’m hoping this will give me better options for writing faster and not taking 80K to write 20-30K.

    1. It’s good to know other people encounter this from time to time. I am starting to think that the joy of writing an novel (instead of weekly short stories) will be that I won’t have to come up with story starts each week. But I know that there are other issues with novels.

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