Don’t frustrate yourself

Another thing I’ve come to realise recently is that it’s very easy to frustrate oneself. Several times now I’ve sat down and thought “I’m going to do some writing,” only to sit staring at a half finished sentence and a flashing cursor. I’ve written some drivel, deleted it, looked over notes, stared again and achieved nothing for two hours. You could be using those two hours productively. Researching, reading, cooking a spectacular dinner for a loved one, shaving the giraffe, endless things.

My advice, and take it or leave it, is have a goal. Decide what you want for this session. You don’t have to stick to it, but without a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you’ll find it difficult to focus. It might be that you want to wrap up that section where the fish steals the tractor, or just push a bit more back story out of your narrative. Set yourself a time limit as well. Not so much, “I am going to write things for one hour,” more like, “I’m going to attempt to do something constructive for an hour, if I haven’t got anywhere, I’m going to get a choc-ice and a copy of Dune and veg in front of Thundercats.” That way, if you’re on a roll and the narrative is flowing like a good merlot, you probably won’t notice the time. However, if you really aren’t getting anywhere, you can walk away, do something constructive and not get frustrated about your lack of productivity.

The way I see it, if I haven’t got an idea of what I’m going to do next, I probably won’t achieve anything useful. Most of the work is done in your noggin, not on the keyboard so if your noggin is empty, you’ll find it difficult to press the keys in a lucid order.

I’m sure many people more experienced than me will disagree and of course, all of us are individuals with different ways of ticking and tackling writing. This works for me though as a person with an overwhelming sense of guilt for not achieving something all the time. I get guilty playing computer games or watching TV for very long because I feel I could be doing something more productive. This for me, means I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time.

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