writing blues · writing tips

Separation Focus


For the last three weeks I haven’t cast eyes on my WIP. I know! Yet I call myself a writer!

(It’s my bill-paying self’s fault. My job is technical and every year or so my skills need to be upgraded and re-assessed, so I’ve just spent three weeks away from home, studying and stressing.)

But talk about separation anxiety! Not only was I not writing, but I wasn’t blogging, and wasn’t reading. I usually read a book every few days on average, but I only managed half of one in the last three weeks.

So as soon as I got home, I of course got my priorities straight and devoured a whole book in two sittings (Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf, watch this space for glowing review). And now I’ve moved on to a Beta reading task (loving it so far Nate Philbrick!).

So where does that leave my WIP? Well, they say you need to leave it in a drawer for a month when you’ve finished it anyway, to create some distance before a final draft/edit.

But I wasn’t finished, so I expected all sorts of separation fallout – like explosions, tidal waves, the end of the world, or (heaven forbid) losing my focus.

And then a funny thing happened on the way to here. The beginning hit me, right out of the blue.

You see, I always struggle with beginnings – in uni essays, short stories, my first MS, even emails, or choosing what to eat first on my plate – and this WIP is no different.

But over four separate flashes of insight (and yes, one of these was in the middle of an exam) I think I’ve finally done it.

Of course, it’s all in recordings and scribbled notes, but it’s there.

So the moral of the story is, sometimes I  get caught up in the writing instead of the objective thinking, and even an unplanned break can do me the world of good. I hope I’ve learned a lesson there.

Now all I have to do is write it all out in the WIP itself. Hmmmm. I wonder if I should make dinner first, and the floor needs a vacuum. And I could move on to reading another book. And I definitely need a coffee.

Curse my procrastination skills!


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