Click, click, click go the typewriter keys. Scratch, scratch, scratch goes the pen on the paper, when I’m writing away from my desk.
Somehow, we move forward.
Now, my big challenge is not to get distracted by interesting secondary characters. I like large, ensemble casts. But some pieces need to keep a tight focus. Sometimes, it doesn’t think it will work if I sprawl and then cut back.
And today’s biggest challenge was to keep the internal editor from banging down the door. Every few sentences, I kept thinking, “I’m going to have to change this.” But I kept going, because it’s the polish that the changes will add, not the basic plot and character development.
When the internal editor starts annoying me, I send her on vacation to Tahiti for the month, promising we’ll do good work together when she returns in a few months. If she bothers me during the month, I say, “Aren’t you supposed to be on a beach in Tahiti? See you later!”
Having that conversation with that other part of my psyche helps me keep the focus where it needs to be for these thirty days – on the writing.
If you get a “great idea” for something else – take a moment, jot it down, but get back to what you’re working on NOW. Don’t keep getting distracted by the shiny. Stay focused. Very often “great ideas” are only other forms of self-sabotage and procrastination. If they are truly “great”, they will still be there when you’re done with this draft.