A couple days ago I talked about making time for writing. That is just one of the first steps you need to take in order to be productive with your writing. If you’re like me, I bet there are a lot of times you sit down at your computer to write and the goblin of amnesia strikes. The goblin of amnesia is like a really fat toad, one that eats nothing but the grease from McDonald’s fryer vats and the desperation of writers. It lays in wait while you’re up and about doing other things, but as soon as you sit down to write it makes its move.
Waddling in like a bloated Godzilla, it plops down on your brain matter, effectively covering all thought about the scenes and snippets of dialogue you’ve been thinking about all day. The goblin chuckles and wiggles it’s impressive derriere down farther and farther. You, meanwhile, sit there staring at the blinking cursor.
It mocks you.
Oh, it’s mocking you hard.
But do not blame the cursor. It’s only doing it’s job, which is waiting for you to do yours, and the gluttonous goblin sitting on your brain isn’t letting you.
It’s a damn vicious cycle, it is. Which is why I’m gonna give you your choice of five weapons to go goblin hunting.
1. Close the laptop and pick up a pen.
Sometimes going back to basics helps more than you’d think. Without the blinking cursor and the tantalizing allure of the internet and game apps, the jiggling goblin will stomp its spotted green feet stumps in tantrum because you’ve cut off its supply of entertainment, which is watching you spin in circles and squint at the screen and mutter murderous things under your breath. Write out the thing you thought about earlier and see how they develop. Once you feel the goblin leave for good, take the notebook to your computer and start transcribing. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts something will spark and you’re fingers will take off like thoroughbreds at an open racing gate.
2. Crank up the stereo.
The goblin is also fond of whispering poisonous nothings in your ear, hoping you’ll get discouraged enough to provide even more entertainment for it. Music is a good distraction, I’ve found, because it’s a brand new set of stories every three to four minutes with awesome rhymes and rhythm. Sometimes a lyric will spark a scene, a conversation, a character, and you’ll be off tapping away to your heart’s content, while the goblin cries salty, greasy tears and wobbles away.
3. Put on unplugged headphones for silence.
Sometimes it’s a complete void that you need to starve the goblin out. No distraction. No signs of outer life. Like you’re the sole survivor of the apocalypse and there’s no better time than the present to get everything in you on paper. For the microbe generation to one day read. Or the aliens. Point is, the silence can help you create this tempting vision of a world free of other people that talk and move and breathe and get in the way. The goblin will fade with tiny indignant shrieks and you’ll have your blessed peace.
4. Change up the scenery.
After spending so long writing in my room, or the living room, or on the porch, I contract a cabin fever-esque affliction that can only be cured by a coffee shop. Or a bookstore with plug ins and coffee. Breaking your regular cycle and going somewhere new is enough excitement for your brain to buck off it’s unwanted rider and leave the goblin on the ground gathering dirt and hair and shed skin cells like the overgrown ugly dust bunny it is. I also like the added atmosphere where caffeine hangs in the air and the underlying push of seeing other people hard at work on their own projects. It’s a quiet challenge issued in the murmur of clacking keyboards and scratching of pens, and I can’t resist one of those.
5. Confront the interloper and tell it to GTFO
Sometimes the goblin is there for a reason that you’re trying to ignore. Maybe something about your project just doesn’t feel right. Maybe your self esteem is sitting in the corner eating worms and glue. Whatever it is, take action. Bring it into the daylight. Examine it. Poke it with a stick. See it for what it is, even if it’s not what you want to see, and then deal with it. Otherwise it’ll keep plaguing you and who wants something like that hanging onto their shoulders for the rest of the foreseeable future? 9 times out of 10, whatever problem is bugging you, if you just face it down instead of letting it grow into a boogeyman, the answer and solution will present itself. Give it a shot, because you don’t deserve to have a nasty, grease guzzling goblin squatting on your brain and crushing your productivity.
So go forth, my friends. Arm yourselves and defeat your goblins of amnesia so you may write with unfettered alacrity!
I’ll have two Doneness Projects update posts today. I forgot to post one for yesterday!