For those of you who don’t know, the cover reveal for K. Bird Lincoln’s Dream Eater happened just a month ago. This book is the first in a new series, and is released April 4th. I would highly suggest looking into it and preordering if you can! It was addicting, and I can’t wait for the next book. I will offer a review of Dream Eater come release day- April 4th!
While reading Dream Eater I was able to be put in touch with her and she kindly agreed to write a guest post for y’all! After all, you can read my advice all day long– but Ms. Lincoln is someone who has made it to that “final step” of releasing her words upon the world.
I won’t keep babbling. But don’t skip reading this– the giveaway details are at the end!
Find your own tricks to keep writing: how small children taught me I didn’t need three hours of uninterrupted quiet to write
By K. Bird Lincoln
Before I had my first daughter at age 30 I was a writer. A Writer. I had a desk in a quiet room, where I could look out the window at the San Francisco Bay. There was a ritual—stovetop latte from my Bialetti Mooka Express, soothing music, a quick check of email that often turned into an hour long session, and then several uninterrupted hours of writing.
Of course, I usually only managed like 800 words, but I was Writing. I was a Special Snowflake with delicate writer sensibilities and this was my artistic process.
Then I had girl1 and for two, sleep-deprived years I pretty much lost all ability to write. My creative batteries were drained by the end of the day by tending to my daughter.
Somewhere in the tangled mess of diapers, wet bras, playdates, spilled sippy cups, and applesauce packs, I discovered I was Still. A Writer.
I just wasn’t writing. The stories were there, but nothing was getting on paper because people in real life don’t have two to three uninterrupted hours in which to light candles and listen to soothing music before they get down to work.
It was time to get brutally honest with myself. If I was going to be a Writer, I had to Write, no matter what. But first I had to figure out what my own, personal writing avoidance excuses were.
“I can’t possibly meet word count goals every day because I don’t have time”
“There’s laundry to be done”
“It’s too hard to get my head in the right place for writing”
And then I began to trick and bribe myself.
I started to carry a small notebook around. I found there were 10 or 15 minutes I could wring out of the day. Times when girl1 was eating. Or playing with something safe. And as she got older, those 10 or 15 minutes were the times I was waiting to pick her up from preschool, or watching her at swim class in a steamy room, or right before she came home from school and I’d already done the laundry and had a snack out on the counter. Of course, things had to adjust when girl2 was born. The creative battery ran down for a few months. But I recovered my Writer identity more quickly after girl2 because I had experienced the tricks and the bribes. I was a Writer and that might go on hold, but it would never go completely away.
Girl1 is now 15 and girl2 is 12, and I could have two hours back in front of a computer in a quiet room with coffee and music. But you know what, oddly enough, it’s getting to Ballet early and sitting in the car for 15 minutes that I do most of my hardcore writing. If I have too much time, I tend to get ensnared by Facebook or updating my Amazon sales page or other writer-related stuff.
Being honest with myself about my writing avoidance behavior helped me to find ways to trick myself into writing.
“No time” turned into “just write for 10 minutes.”
“I can’t meet writing goals of 2000 a day” turned into “so reward yourself with the easy writing goal of 1000 a week, and anything over that is icing on the writing cake.”
“There’s laundry to be done” turned into “okay, you have two minutes to put laundry in the machine, and then you have to sit down at the computer until you have written.”
“It’s too hard to get my head in the right place for writing” turned into “stop whining.” And then I started making playlists of songs on Youtube that made me think of a character or an emotion I wanted to convey. Now when I sit down to write a particular novel I turn on the Youtube playlist and like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I start literally salivating…er…my brain is conditioned to jump right into that feeling or character. A few years ago I read an interview with YA fantasy/science fiction author Scott Westerfeld who said he prints out the last two pages of whatever he’s written and starts each writing session by editing/reading those last two pages.
Voila! No more need for candles or music or anything. Reading the last two pages somehow not only kicks my story juices into full gear, but also has the added benefit of being an initial editing, without the danger of getting sucked into the endless black hole of editing. There’s only two pages to edit, and then I have to create content
There’s also the fact that I don’t allow myself to buy lattes at Dunn Bros or Starbucks or Caribou Coffee unless I’m writing there or I walked there. Pure bribery, I know. But at the end of the day, I have several pieces of paper with scribbled dialogue on it that I didn’t have at the start.
But you have to be honest with yourself. What are your writing avoidance excuses? What kinds of bribes will get you to write? Meanwhile, here are some tricks I’ve heard from other writers. Maybe one will work for you.
- Daily word count instead of weekly—with strict no internet policy until its met
- Writing with a timer on instead of word counts
- Change your writing place. Go somewhere physically different to write.
- Write the scenes you really want to write first to get yourself going, or alternatively, save the juicy scenes as a reward for after a certain word count
- Use the voice recorder on your phone or ipad if carrying around a notebook doesn’t work for you in order to jot down ideas as they come.
- Make yourself accountable to a writer (or non-writer) friend for word counts. Set up a mutual pledge to text or post about word counts with someone else so you’ll be shamed into doing it.
Sign up for K. Bird’s Sporadic Newsletter and get a free digital story or book!
Read K. Bird’s tasty fiction reviews on Goodreads
Check out random thoughts and Japanese recipes on her blog or writing news and book deals on Facebook
Listen to K. Bird sing Japanese lullabies or read free short stories on her webpage
Read “A beautifully-written genderbending tale of rebellious girls, shifting disguises, and forbidden magic, set against the vivid backdrop of ancient Japan.”—Tiger Lily, a historical fantasy novel set in an alternate medieval Japan available on Amazon.com.
Great advice from someone who has succeeded in reaching her dreams! Did you see that last little bit about reading her book Tiger Lily?
Lucky for you, she’s agreed to give one lucky reader a copy FOR FREE.
Enter HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway starts today and ends Monday, March 6, 2017 at midnight EST. Good luck!