Writing Update: Closing the door

September 22, 2009 in Fantasy, Novel, On Writing by pacejmiller


Writing on my fantasy novel (now starting to resemble a ‘saga’) has been progressing, albeit slower than anticipated.  With under 2 weeks to go before a triumphant return to full-time work, there’s just so much that I still want to do!

I really don’t know how people with a full-time job (especially one that takes up 10-12 hours a day, on a good day) can manage to pump out novels like they do.  Here I am, with (supposedly) all the free time in the world, and I’m crawling here.  Crawling.  It’s amazing how much there is to do when you have nothing to do.

Anyway, recently my wife has been giving more opportunities to write by letting us actually stay home occasionally as opposed to going out or to the in-laws everyday.  But there are still plenty of distractions – household chores, cooking, eating, TV, movies, surfing the net, blogging, reading (almost finished Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’), exercising, video games, bits and pieces here and there.  And before you know it, another day has vanished and the word count is eerily similar.

But seriously, I think I’m getting better at it.  I ask myself: do I want to finish this novel or not?  Answer: Yes.  Do I enjoy working on the novel?  Answer: Hell yes.  Then why not friggin’ do it?

I’m finding that the key is to close the door.  Literally.  Stephen King suggested it in his brilliant ‘On Writing’ (review here), but I shrugged it off.  I can multi-task and handle distractions.  No I cannot.

I find that when I close the door, my work rate is at another level.  My focus just shifts into another gear.  It blocks out the distractions.  It’s a sign to yourself and everyone else that you’re working and that’s what you should be doing.  Time really flies when you’re into it.

Yesterday was a great example.  I even had the in-laws over from the afternoon, but whenever I got a chance to break free, I went into the room and closed the door.  Sometimes I’d only get 10-15 minute blocks, but before I knew it, 7,000 words!  And it wasn’t even on my own computer (which blew up and had to get fixed)!

So that’s the way it’s gonna be from now on.  If the door is closed, don’t bother me.

[PS: I had a peek at the stuff I wrote when I was distracted with ‘stuff’ – utter crap]