This post is going to be relatively short because, you know, I don’t want you to get distracted or anything…
I take Stephen King literally and close the door.
Technically, he said “write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” What he meant when he said this was write the first draft for yourself, not others. Just shut that proverbial door right in their face and do you.
Did he mean to go somewhere that has a door and actually shut it? Not really. But since I suffer from Doingallthethingsatonce-itis, I decided to take his advice literally. You know, just to see what happened. Guess what? That simple act of literally closing the door triggered something in my brain. Not saying I pound out three chapters like a bionic mad woman after three cans of Red Bull now when the door’s closed. Not at all, but after literally closing the door on distractions for the last couple of months, my brain now understands that when that door is shut, mamma ain’t playing.
I write in my home office, but the beauty is a “home office” could be anywhere: Bedroom, basement, bathroom, clothes hamper… anything goes so long as you can shut yourself in and not come out until you’ve achieved your target word count or number of chapters.
Bring the Cheez-Its in with you, though, because once that door is shut… the idea is not to come out. For anything. Except maybe to go to the bathroom. But only if it’s a peemergency. Also? Make sure to warn your peeps that, so help you baby Jesus, if that door is shut and someone opens it, the house BETTER be on fire. Like, blazing inferno on fire.
If you’re still wondering about that quote, you can find it in On Writing, which I highly recommend reading. Even if you don’t particularly care for Mr. King’s books, he offers some really good practical advice on the process and craft of writing. Trust me, you will benefit. Here are some more suggestions for writers from Mr. King in this article on openculture.com –> Click me.
I turn on some white noise.
I’ve read a few articles on white noise and , eh, some say it’s good for concentration, some say it’s bad because it increases stress levels. Personally, I like it. It doesn’t stress me out at all. I think it’s quite soothing, actually, and it puts me in the zone. I’m one of those weirdos who can’t focus with a bunch of hootin’ and hollerin’ going on around me. No TV, no music, definitely no music with lyrics–no nothing. Hell, I can’t even concentrate when people are whispering. So when my husband is strumming on his guitar in the next room and my son is jumping around like a grasshopper on a griddle upstairs, I needs mah white noise or writing is futile. This is the white noise I listen to… kind of makes me feel like I’m in outer space. I bet it’d be good for writing sci-fi.
I (hope to) stay focused with Writer’s Block.
Writer’s Block? Say what? Let me explain… Okay, so I’ve literally closed the door and I’ve got my white noise set to continuous play… I’m writing… writing… writing… and then the usual internet suspects start their shenanigans.
Google: I wonder what Rupaul looked like as a child… We should look that up.
Twitter: Ummm, you haven’t checked your notifications for seven. whole. MINUTES.
Email: No one’s emailed you, but you should really check. Just in case.
Facebook: Hey, you! I’ve got some super funny memes you’ve really got to see!
YouTube: Oh, you haven’t seen the latest 48 Hours Mystery yet? Hmmm, that’s a shame.
TMZ: Khloe, Kylie and Kim Kardashian are one person… We have photographic evidence!
Writer’s Block is a text editor that basically turns your computer into a typewriter. I haven’t tried it yet, but I am in full-on Intrigued Mode. I guess this shiz makes it so you can’t do anything but write. As in, you can’t quit the program until you hit your goal (or predetermined time). That means no more wandering off into I WAS ONLY ON TWITTER FOR TWO SECONDS AND OMG HOW DID I END UP ON YOUTUBE FOR THE LAST HALF AN HOUR land. Nope. Not gonna happen. Unless, of course, I just get up, open the door and walk out.
Has anyone tried Writer’s Block yet? If so, how did you like it?