No, this isn't a post about writing in a public bathroom. Which, now that I think about it, is something I've never heard of anyone doing. There's probably a good reason for that.
Writing on a bathroom is different, and doesn't count. Under most circumstances.
And by starting my blog entry with an image I had to look for, I've provided a demonstration of what I'm writing about today: sometimes, it's incredibly easy to do anything but write.
A friend recently told me about how she has trouble getting to bed at a reasonable hour, because - to sum it up - she keeps doing everything she wants to do that's not going to sleep. I told her she should look into setting herself on a strict schedule, because that's mostly what I do and it works, but it got me thinking.
I like to think of myself as pretty disciplined, and I can be. When it comes time to sit down and write - when I'm actually working on a book - my ass is in the chair at a certain time every night and I hammer away at the keyboard until it's time to stop. (Usually when that book's CD is over, though I sometimes start the music again and keep going.) I do this every single night until that first draft is done.
But when I'm plotting? Everything in the world is easier than opening up that document and trying again to figure out that story. >_<
This is true whether things are going well or not. The thing I'm working on right now - under the abbreviation S7, and I'm kind of hoping there's at least one longtime reader of this blog who knows what that refers to - is going well. It's going well enough to reinforce my weird-ass ideas from two entries ago. Hell, it's going well enough that I'm getting upset at my characters, and I have maybe three paragraphs on most of them.
After struggling with this idea for so long, it's wonderful and amazing to sit down with the plotting document and have this story, this world, these people just sort of spill out onto the page, with me hoping I can type fast enough to keep up.
So why is it usually so damn hard to sit down and get to work?
I think a lot of it is the simple fear of failure. Over the years, I've had more plots crash and burn than I really want to think about. Few things in my writing world suck more than sitting down to a plot that's not working out and hoping that tonight, against all odds, I can figure it out. And I don't want that to happen with this one. I really, really don't. I already love how this story is going and I don't even have three pages' worth of plot. I think it will keep going well, but there's no way to be sure.
So when it comes time to sit down and plot, I stall. I check my e-mail half a dozen times. I check Twitter and the WoW site I frequent in case someone's said something interesting. I'd wash the dog if I had one. And by the time I do start working, it's an hour later, and I barely have time to tap out a few paragraphs about the world or refine a few plot points before it's time to go to bed.
If I keep up like this, I will get nothing done. And I can't work with nothing. I've tried setting a stricter schedule for myself, I've tried changing the order I do things after I get home from work, but nothing prevents the stall. It's enough to make me wish I had deadlines, as the one time I did, it was excellent motivation and I found a sense of personal pride in getting my work done well before it was due.
So here's where I ask for advice: how do you make sure you get your writing work done? What do you do to keep yourself from stalling? And most importantly, does it work?