Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting that Writing Project Started

Every writing project is overwhelming. When I finally decide to start a new project, no matter what it is, I have a moment where I feel my stomach flutter and a heaviness in my chest.  The closest feeling I can compare to it is the anxiousness before the first day of school as a child; a mixture of excitement and dread.  The thrill of learning new things, mixed with regret for the loss of freedom.   

There is nothing harder than staring at a blank screen in your word processor wondering to yourself, "What the hell was I going to write about?"  This always gives your Inner Critic a place to slither a few doubts into your head, and start the negative chattering: "Why are you doing this?  Don't you have to steam clean the hall carpet? Wouldn't you rather read the next chapter in The Hunger Games instead? You don't have a clue what you are doing, do you?  The words will never make it what it is in your head... so why bother?"  And on and on.

Any time you take on a new project, whether it is a technical magazine article involving a lot of research and interviews, starting a novel, or even weeding all of the flowerbeds and planting flowers in them, when you face the enormity of the task... your Inner Critic is ALWAYS going to advise you to procrastinate.

Take a deep breath, and take 15 minutes to list of every single task you need to do in order to complete the project.  Items on the list can be as big as conducting an interview with a the premiere expert in the field or as small as going to the post office to buy stamps to send out query letters with SASEs.  Do not stop writing until the 15 minutes are up. If you are running out of ideas for more tasks, look at the existing ones on your list and see if you can break them into even SMALLER tasks.

If you look at it as one huge project, it is daunting. But if you tackle just one of the little tasks on the list, and work on it until you are finished, it is not so bad.  You might even feel inspired to start another. You might become addicted to the feeling of sweet victory when you cross another task off.

Pretty soon you notice that you have a chapter done, then two, then ten, and then you have a first draft completed, then a second, then a final, and the next thing you know, you are shopping around for agents and publishers. 

This is at the heart of what this blog is about: The 15-Minute Writer: How to Achieve Your Creative Writing Dreams in 15 Minutes a Day.  This blog helps you develop the skills necessary to become an excellent writer, teachs you how to break down these huge writing tasks into manageable 15-minute tasks, and shows you how to manage your time to get these tasks done.  

Get a timer, or use a timer app on your iPod, smartphone, or the web, set it for 15 minutes and begin chasing that dream today!

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