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.
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