Writing is a crazy process. Or is it that the process makes me sound crazy?
Did you ever see the episode of Malcolm in the Middle where Francis, who is away at military school, isn't pulling his weight on a joint research project? The student he's working with gets so annoyed with him, he locks Francis into a totally empty dorm room to finish his project. No distractions, right? Well, when he comes back, he finds that Francis has done none of his work, and instead has spent the time unraveling his sweater and winding the yarn around the room.
That's me sometimes. When, no matter what, I cannot get my mind to engage in the project at hand.
Then, there are the other times, when I get so far engrossed in a project that I feel like I'm in a state of deep concentration. Where everything feels easy. It flows and it makes sense. And it feels so good I don't want it to end. Time slips away. I can't get my brain to shut off.
Sounds a little manic and depressive, huh?
But those are the two extremes. The reality is the time in between. When I'm trying to work and it's just plain old... work. Each paragraph is a labor. That's what I've been experiencing a lot lately. If writing is something I want to do so badly, why is it so difficult?
I know it's not unique to me.
The Internet is full of communities meant to help writers tame their muse. Ever heard of Book in a Week? NaNoWrite Month? 100 Words a Day?
Some writers resort to setting timers. I remember reading an author interview somewhere -- I think it was Dan Brown -- and the author said he used an hour glass.
I need to find some strategy that gets me back on track again. (And, no, my husband standing over me making threats doesn't work. We've tried that. It just makes me bitter.)
Ultimately, I know it comes down to that old piece of writer's advice: Plant your butt in a chair and just do it.