Every October a group of us get together to write creepy stories. Every year, it’s a blast. However, this year I wasn’t in the mood. I’d just found out that Luna the One-Eyed Wonder Dog has aggressive oral cancer, and my morale was low. Very. very. low.
I didn’t want to go, but I’d already paid to participate. When I arrived at the retreat, I promptly told everyone that I wasn’t going to write anything and that was that. I’d be the first writer in the 20+ year history of this retreat to not write something. I was OK with that.
Despite a nuclear-fueled level of resistance, I ended up completing a flash fiction piece that, surprisingly, I liked. How the heck did I do that?
I faked it. And I’m oh so good at that. Check it out:
1. I’m not really writing. See what I’m doing here? This is called venting. This is me doing this ….
This totally blows I have nothing to write, nothing at all that could I write anyhow. This is so stupid. crap crap crap goddammit. I don’t have a story to tell, I don’t even want to be here. I hate this! Blahhhhh … crapcrapdoublecrapadoozy crap crap crap …
(where “crap” = the F-word)
…until suddenly I’m not venting anymore and writing coherent sentences instead.
2. I’m only reading the scenes I wrote yesterday.
Doesn’t matter how often I pull this one on myself, it works every time. Because it’s fun to read what we’ve already written, right? And then the reading naturally segues into adding a few more words, ESPECIALLY if the day before you purposefully stopped in the middle of a sentence. This is a genius trick. Try it. You’ll see.
3. I’m drinking wine and relaxing. Oh, my manuscript is displayed on the monitor? Pfft, beside the point.
This is especially good when you’re in a bar, because you’re not only drinking wine, you’re also people watching. Eventually your brain will empty out. Empty brain is good because then you might find yourself writing a few words without fully realizing it.
4. Hey, Facebook peeps, who really cares if I write? Seriously, you tell me, because I ain’t doing it anymore.
You pull a stunt like this and you’ll have everyone rallying behind you. See if doesn’t get you enthused or bully-whipped or something into setting a few words down.
5. I’ll write for five minutes and call it quits for the day.
Yep, the five-minutes trick. Some days you may only write for the five minutes, true, but it’s more than you would have otherwise, right? Most of the time, you’ll find yourself writing for longer. The secret is that you really need to be OK with only writing for five minutes.
I can’t tell you how often faking myself out has helped me through rough writing times. It’s not like it always works. Sometimes drinking wine in a bar is just drinking wine in a bar. However, more often than not my little trickeries succeed where browbeating myself would surely have failed.
What mind games do you play with yourself to get your writing — or any task — done?
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