22 May 2013

Wanted: boredom

When I quit my day job last fall to freelance full-time, one of the main things I looked forward to was having the time and energy to write. What I hadn't counted on was how busy I would be. You see, I had forgotten that what helps me get into the writing groove more than anything else is boredom. As I once explained to a friend, "The trick is to get really really bored until I start telling myself stories to relieve the boredom."

But I'm not bored, darn it! Last week I had a couple of great editing jobs that kept me busy through Saturday. Obviously not complaining about that. And then there's the Facebook and the Twitter and the social engagements and the meetings with clients, potential clients and business coaches and the TV shows to catch up on (thank goodness they break for summer!) and the word games to play and the Internets to surf...you get the idea. And that's before I even get to household chores. Don't get me started on household chores.

So how do I make myself bored?

It certainly helps to stay off the Internet and the iPad--which means no email, Twitter or Facebook. And no watching movies or TV. No games, either. In fact, better to just stay off the computer altogether. Except, of course, to write. And it helps to not leave the house except to go for my daily walk, so no meetings or social engagements. Basically getting bored consists of sitting on the couch or on the bed staring at the window or the wall for as many hours as it takes for my brain to start creating stories.

But of course the minute I open my computer to start writing, I get distracted by all the stuff I have access to through the Internet, etc. Sigh.

[A few days later.] A strange thing happened after I wrote the above and gave up on this post, judging it to be too boring: I wrote some stuff. Without thinking about it, without that dense sense of dread filling not just my stomach but my entire torso, I opened the Scrivener file containing the novel I'm working on and I added stuff to it. Not a lot, admittedly, but I WROTE SOMETHING! =*D

But wait--that's not all! I also got an idea for a new story this week that I'm really excited about, and I wrote a new little something this morning. That's...like...a miracle or something.

Evidently just writing about the state of mind that helps me write...helps me write. (Wait. What?) Also I think it helps that I've spent at least an hour a day for the last several days sitting around staring at walls. I realize that may sound like a huge waste of time, but I'm seeing progress, so I'm going to keep at it.

Also, am I the last person on the planet to hear about this program called Freedom? I have not tried it yet, but my friend Kiersi (who is also a writer and all-around ball of awesomeness whose blog, Prolific Novelista, you should check out) was using it yesterday. Evidently it blocks your Internet access for however long you tell it to so that you can't get distracted by Internet and social media. (Unless, of course, you have your iPhone sitting next to you with the alerts on. Not recommended.)

So how do you get yourself in the mood to write? Do you need quiet? Clean? Clutter? Noise? Sitting still? Movement?

Quick ROW80 check-in:
1. Be a ROW80 sponsor--Yes, good. Have kept up with sponsorship duties this week.
2. Write my chapter of the chain story--Oops. Omg I totally forgot about this. =*( I owe Aliaa an email and an apology.
3. Do three public readings--Two down, one to go. Am excited to read at Rain or Shine on the 30th, especially since I'll have about half an hour and I get to pick whatever I want. Have decided to start with the less weird stuff and end on pretty-darn-weird.
4. Get more involved with local writing community--I went to a reading at Annie Bloom's Books on Monday, which was awesome, and had an in-person writing session with Kiersi this week, also awesome. Next step: email Kiersi questions--she's agreed to be the first interviewee for this blog. Woot!
5.  Monthly article for VoiceCatcher--Check. Article about Liz Prato drafted. Just need to get it checked for accuracy and then it's good to go.
6. Pseudonym's novel--As mentioned above, I actually made some progress this week! Hoorah! Also have set aside three days later this month to do nothing but work on it. This needs to happen.
7. Stop trying to do too much--I've been much easier on myself lately. There's still a part of me that's freaking out about not pushing myself to produce 24/7, but in general I feel healthier for it.
8. Apply for writing fellowships/grants--No progress.


  1. I got tons of ideas on my road trip last November. Driving for 10 hours a day was boring (in a GREAT way).

    And Tyler just went on a camping trip by himself. Came back, and is writing a novel.

    I think you're on to something here.

    1. Right?! Or maybe it's not so much about being bored as it is about disconnecting from all the stimuli long enough to be able to hear our Muses. Cutting off the INPUT so the channel can be used to create some OUTPUT.

      Tyler's writing a novel?! So awesome! Will have to ask him about it next time I see him.

  2. I find that writing with a Stream of Consciousness attitude is working, and mostly because I'm writing about what I know. It's an old saying about writing what you know, but I guess it became cliche because it's true. I left my job last year just to escape from it. I had no idea what I was walking toward, just what I wanted to walk away from. Turns out, I was meant to write. Go figure.
    It's all new to me, but I'm loving it!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Elaine! Do you mean that when you sit down to write you start with stream-of-consciousness to warm up, or is that what you do for your entire drafting process?

      I too left my job last year...to do writing and freelance editing full-time. I see that you write travel books. So jealous! Would love to talk with you about that sometime. =*)

  3. Hi,Sione. Ireally like the energy of your blog and see you trying different strategies (weekly x 2 writing prompts, interviews, commentary on writing). Thanks for visiting mine! Now my most tried and true way to write is simply start each day with writing. It helps that I'm a morning person - and that Dear Hubby sleeps in. Deadlines will keep you producing those freelance jobs, but I hope you work on your own writing as well. Best, Beth

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Beth! I am finding that an early 30-min writing sprint (before breakfast, before walk) helps set a tone for the rest of the day. If I do that, I find it much easier to get into my writing throughout the rest of the day. The trick is to find the motivation to do it before the hunger pangs kick in.