I recently discovered the website Finally Writing and found out about Jackie Johansen’s eBook Why Writing is a Struggle. Since it was a free download, I got curious and got my copy. After all, it isn’t because I already have my own way of writing that works that I am not interested in finding new tips that might improve a functional system!
If you don’t know where to start to get any writing done, it is a rather straightforward and easy reading, that I believe can be very helpful. Of course, everyone is different, but at least it gives some big lines and ideas that one can adjust to their own needs and preferences. For example, setting a timer and schedule actual writing blocks is something that doesn’t work for me at all. I enjoy deadlines either because of call for papers or that I self impose, but scheduled writing sessions don’t work for me. I just sit and nothing happens. This is why over the past few years, I found out that deciding on a word count I wanted for the day worked much better for me. I know I have this section, that amount of words to get done in the day, so I find a way and thus my muses behave much better.
Being able to jolt notes down at any given time of day or night is something I totally agree with! I can’t go anywhere without a notebook and a pen. If I leave the house without them for example, I don’t feel as good or as prepared as I should be.
Though outlining processes can also differ from one writer to the other, it is an important part of the process that the author also brings up here. For example, I can’t work on a project if I don’t have a structure, especially when it’s nonfiction, whether a chapter in a collection or an actual book of my own. Being able to break things down and have a detailed structure is always the first thing I do before getting to actual writing (and after having already taken some notes for brainstorming).
When she mentions how you also have to factor days of rest, it hit home as this is something I still have a hard time to include, because I always feel that I should do more. Yes, I am still dealing with my perfectionist streak. I try to do better now because I had two bad cases of burnout in the last year, but it isn’t easy.