So, you want to write. You’ve got your story line sorted, you have scenes planned, and you’re inspired. In fact, you’re raring to go, itching to get started. But, there’s a problem. A very big problem in fact. You’re surrounded by people who won’t stop talking to you, or have put the TV/radio on, or are doing noisy things. And now you can’t concentrate, and therefore can’t write. So what do you do?
I’m afraid I can’t help with that, because I don’t know, because I haven’t figured it out myself. Since I moved three weeks ago, I have so far only managed to have one good day of uninterrupted writing, the rest I have been plagued with non-stop noise. That’s the problem with moving in with other relatives who don’t yet understand how you work, and don’t go out often – they want to talk all the time, and continue in their normal routine, without realising that they’re disturbing yours.
For years, I have had about 40 hours a week of uninterrupted time to myself, while my Mum was at work, which I used to write and read to my hearts content. Now I’m down to 8 at most, and the rest of the time I’m in the company of someone who talks a lot, and has the TV on for most of the day. It’s something I am definitely not used to, and it’s something I am now struggling to adjust to.
You see, I find it very difficult to write while there’s any sort of distraction. I can deal with writing with musical accompaniment, as that can be inspiring, but everything else is pure distraction. If someone is talking to me, that means I have to reply and think about the conversation, therefore I cannot concentrate on my story line.
If the TV is on, I get distracted, even when it’s a show I’m not interested in. I end up getting sucked into watching whatever is on, or find myself wanting to work whatever is going on on the TV into the story I’m writing, which is obviously not a good idea.
It’s a nightmare, and one I’ve been living in for the past three weeks. I’ve yet to come up with a solution to the problem. The only thing I can try and do is crank up the volume on my headphones, and hope to God it drowns out the TV/puts people off talking to me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s all I’ve currently got. Until I can sort out my own ‘writing space’ I am stuck in with the noise. The noise that doesn’t seem to let up for a minute. Even with the new space, I don’t know how well it’s going to work. I’ll be away from the TV, but it doesn’t stop people coming in to talk to me.
I’m praying it will help my productivity a bit, but really, there is no catch all solution to the problem. If there was, that would be what this blog’s subject. But there isn’t. So the only advice I can give is to crank up the volume on the music if you’re in a similar situation. Crank up the volume and try to adjust the best you can.
If not, well, there’s always waiting for everybody to leave or go to sleep, and writing then.
Though if you have any ideas, leave me a comment and tell me, I’m dying to figure this out and stop the distractions!
First of all, I must apologise for the lack of updates recently, blame a 20th birthday, a tonne of assignments, preparing for a house move, and a new project, which is what I want to talk about in this blog.
Recently I started a new project, and by project, I mean a new story. I’d finished my old one (finally, after changing my self imposed finish date four times) and had had this idea in my head for a long time, so I had been excited to start it. The only problem was that I didn’t know where to start.
One of the worst parts of being a writer is finding a place to start. So often a project sounds perfect inside the mind, but when it gets put on paper, it falls to pieces, or holes start appearing, or sometimes the story logistics get changed round. What’s more, you have to get a feel for the characters again, find the voices of these people, possibly world build around them, and basically start from scratch. And that is difficult. We get so caught up in our projects that when we have to let go of them to start a new one, it’s hard to let go. I’ve been a victim of this time and time again.
Even when I have been writing a sequel, I find it quite hard to get into the new story, even when it is the same characters I’ve been writing for a long time. Keeping them consistent is hard, as is keeping their voice flowing, and I think it’s because it’s the daunting idea of the new story that causes it.
But new characters in new stories are the toughest offenders. Characters, plot, setting and everything has to be reintroduced. Old stories have to be forgotten about, everything is fresh. You can’t get into the plot and sink your teeth in because you have to establish things, and get a feel for what you’re writing. And it’s tough, so, so tough. To be perfectly honest, it’s one of the things I hate the most about writing, because it’s so hard to get things flowing in a new story. Of course I know I can rewrite later on, but I like to get everything going ASAP, and when I can’t get the details right, I can’t move forward. I get stuck, feeling desperate to just get on with it, but unable to until the details are right, especially when they’re essential to further the plot later on.
I need to learn to control this perfectionism, but at the moment, it feels impossible.
It’s murder on the brain, and can be a great one way ticket to the horrible land of Writers Block, something every writer wants to avoid. All I can do in this situation is push through, do my best, and tweak as needed later on. Book openings have to be written, characters need introductions, setting needs to be placed, and plot needs to be at least hinted at before anything else can happen. It’s the hardest thing, but it’s worth it. The time used writing introductions etc helps to introduce me as a writer to the characters, and everything else, to give me a feel for how this book (or draft at least) is going to turn out. From the introducing paragraphs, I can ascertain just how dark it’s going to be written in, what POV I’m writing from, as well as tense and everything else.
I like to view these hard first few paragraphs the testers, to where I can prepare myself for what I’m getting myself into, and know what kind of thing I’m subconsciously going for with the story. I can set out my tone and get a feel for my new story, so I know where I need to go from here. It also helps me figure out if I need to go back to the drawing board and plan out a few more things. I’ve found it’s so much harder to write myself out of a plot hole when writing the middle section of a book, than it is to write myself out when I’m at the beginning.
Basically, this long, winding post that probably doesn’t make sense (it’s late, straight after a bank holiday weekend, and I’m writing this after I melted my brain on assignments, don’t blame me) is trying to say that really, beginnings are a struggle, but a good thing. Beginnings are needed to introduce you the writer to the story, and gives you the chance to go back to the drawing board if needs be. It’s so hard to write, and sometimes you just want to jump the gun and get on with it, but it’s worth it. In fact, it’s a necessity. So don’t skip your beginnings, don’t leave them until the end of the book to write. Go and write them now, if they suck, you can tweak them later, but for now, get the testing ground going. You’ll thank me later.
THAT’S IT! WE ARE DONE PEOPLE! IT’S THE FIRST OF DECEMBER, NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING IS DONE!
And if nobody minds, I’m going to go and pass out now, because DAMN, that was one hell of a month! Between uni work, distractions and a thousand and one different fandom explosions, I’m surprised I managed to get through this month.
Thing is, I didn’t just get through NaNoWriMo, I smashed it to pieces. As in, I went nine thousand words over target. Have a look yourself at this madness!