Star Wars, the Flylady and Other Internet Tools

Star Wars, the Fly lady and Other Internet Tools

 Your focus determines your reality – Qui-Gon Jinn

Hope everyone had a great holiday and you’ve got some smoking hot New Year’s Eve plans.  It’s Jamie K. Schmidt, filling in for Wednesday’s Child Vivienne Ylang.  Today’s writing tip is about how to focus.  Last week, we talked about finding the time to write.  So now we’ve got our butts in the chair, fingers on the keyboard and are ready to work.

I have a hard time jumping into my project.  Sometimes, it helps to read over the last chapter.  Sometimes, it helps to edit the previous fifty pages.  Sometimes, it helps to read everything I’ve got.  Usually once that’s done, my writing time is up and I’m off to do other things.  Like video games for example.  Take that quote up there for instance . . .

Qui-Gon Jinn was a Jedi Master in George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise.  The Jedis and their enemies, the Sith are foremost in my mind because I got the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) for Christmas.  Basically, it’s a great big video game I can play on my computer with my husband and about 1 million of my friends. To get an idea of the game play you can check out this youtube video:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4iL5uUDf5I

This game is a lot of fun. . . . but it’s not getting my revisions done that I’ve got to turn into my agent in February so she can, in turn, give them to the requesting editor at the publishing house.  So I’ve got to focus.

I grab the timer and set it for fifteen minutes (a la the Fly Lady  . . . www.flylady.com.  It’s a great site for getting rid of clutter and cleaning your house . . . ahem. . . focus)

It gives me fifteen minutes to get in the mood, fart around, settle in, and get ready to write.  When that timer goes off, I start with the new work for today.  In this case, I have scrapped the prologue – which was OK because it wasn’t in my original manuscript.  Now I’ve got to rework the opening chapter.  I’m planning on hacking off the first half and starting in the middle of the chapter.  It’s hard to kill the darlings.   I created a new word document to keep them in so I can use them later, if needed.  But if I get stuck making new darlings, I need something to push me through the writer’s block.

Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die application http://writeordie.com/#pc is one way to get motivated.  You set a goal, a time and start typing.  If you stop typing before your time is up, the following can happen:   Annoying buzzers will sound; your computer screen will start acting crazy, and my personal favorite – your words can start deleting!!!!  Believe me, you become very focused on not being punished and getting those words done.

When I prefer the carrot over the stick, there are always kittens: http://writtenkitten.net/.  For every one hundred words you write, you get a kitten picture.

It’s important to note, that with both these applications you need to cut and paste the work you do on these websites into another word processing program, like Microsoft Word® or the equivalent.

When I’m in the zone, I can work for hours.  It’s getting there that’s part of the battle.  Then once I’m there, focusing only on the writing I’m supposed to do today is also hard.  Once the creativity opens up, ideas for other projects start jumping in.  I have to keep another word document open called “Ideas” and type them in there so I can go back to my Work in Progress (WIP).

I make bargains with myself.  Once this goal is done, you can do X.  In this case, once I get my daily word count or revision goal in, I can log on to SWOR and leave my WIP until tomorrow guilt free.

I opened with a Jedi and I’m going to close with the last Jedi Master.  Whenever I tell myself I’m going to try and write today, I hear the words of the little green Muppet:

There is no try.  Do or do not – Yoda

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6 thoughts on “Star Wars, the Flylady and Other Internet Tools”

  1. Once I’m in the zone I don’t have a hard time jumping into my writing but starting new projects is enormously hard for me. It takes me a solid week to write the opening scene to every book I write, and thats usually because I think everything I write stinks at first.

    1. Do you think about the opening scene in your head for awhile? I tend to do this and while it feels a little like procrastination, I think it gives me a better idea of what I want when I finally sit down to start. Like I’ve already tried a few opening chapters on for size. 😀

  2. I’m a big fan of FlyLady, both for getting housework done, and for organizing my life in general. In fact, I credit FlyLady for helping me finish my first novel — by the time I started it, I’d cleared out enough physical clutter and had routines going to the point where I could focus on my writing, and let go of enough perfectionism that I was able to finish the manuscript. For the last few months I’ve fallen off that bandwagon and have just been deleting the e-mails, unread. I’ve been feeling as though I always need to catch up — and I’m not talking just about the housework, either. I’m on a glorious stay-cation from my day job next week, and I cannot wait. An entire week where I plan to do nothing except refocus on my writing and work on my WIP. Thanks for the post, Jamie. I think I might try that kitten thing — how ridiculously cute!

    1. I’m so jealous about the staycation. I’m stuck at work this week and just about everyone else in the building has saved their vacation to take this week off. It’s like the dead zone. Of course, I’ve got a deadline of the 30th for a manual so I can’t even slack off a little. 😦 And if my boss is reading this, I *never* slack off at work. Just a little joke 😀 But Jane, I’m a big Flylady fan too. Mostly because of her “nothing is unsurmountable” attitude. And I was surprised how much I could get done is “just” 15 minutes.

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