Writing Relentless

Did you want to place an “ly” on today’s title? I was tempted, but went with relentless as a way to describe the writer’s life. Some days writing feels so daunting that I’d rather scrub the mold out of the window sills. Or give up and fly to New York and help the hurricane victims.  While these are honorable activities, I remind myself that this relentless writer’s life is the one I live for, the one I cannot see myself doing without.
Writing Tip for Today: During NaNoWriMo, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Relentless may well describe your enemy, the half-baked story you’ve chosen to pound away on for 30 days. It’s like our neighbor’s dog, who every single morning of my waking life, barks in a strange regular tempo for about three hours. Here are some ways I try to defeat that RELENTLESS feeling:

  • Dream It. I go to bed each night with a command to central intelligence (i.e. my subconscious) to work on my character’s motivations, plot ideas and resolutions of conflict. It doesn’t often disappoint me. You can also use daydreaming to great effect, although if you have a day job you may need to “look busy” while wool gathering. A notepad is handy to keep close by, because these ideas have a way of evaporating.
  • Reread It. Reread your previous few pages to immerse yourself in the story once again. Sometimes I read out loud, causing my cats to give me strange looks, but it works. For me, the ideas I’ve put on the page don’t always make sense (or nonsense) until I hear them read aloud. A word of caution: Don’t start editing as you reread! You’ll be pulled into the yawning abyss of tinkering before you write a single new sentence. Editing comes later (say after Nov. 30).
  • Do It. BIC (Butt in Chair) is the best way I know to get this RELENTLESS feeling off my back for a little while. If I don’t procrastinate, just sit down and allow those subconscious promptings to help me create, I can satisfy word count and then some. There is no substitute for actually sitting down and writing. Unless it’s standing up and writing, as I did long ago when I tried to get word count during my day care kids’ nap time. Just Do It feels appropriate to shout on a Monday morning when my window sills are swimming in mold. I can send a little money to New York. Where’s YOUR Monday morning word count?

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

2 comments on “Writing Relentless

  1. Lovely post! I’m doing Nano this year, too, and already am fighting the urge to give up and edit. These are all excellent points! Daydreaming and keeping BIC are the easiest ways for me to keep writing. 🙂

    • Danielle, Daydreamingf is one way I manage to waste a ton of time. But I’m also able to dream up good novel ideas, so I tolerate my space outs! Write on! Linda

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