08 March

STOP the Wandering Writer Mind – Your Clue to Get to Work


Your book draft isn’t done… but you’re searching the web for book cover artists.

Your book draft isn’t done… but you’re researching editors.

Your book draft isn’t done… but you’re lining up podcast shows.

Your book draft isn’t done… but you’re purchasing author merch.


Sound familiar?

Two words for you: STOP IT.


The ONLY way you can better your writing habit is by recognizing the activities which take your writing off track. One is the Wandering Writing Mind. This animal has the eyesight of an eagle at 5,000 feet for anything new 'n' shiny, anything easier than writing, that'll waylay your goal of completing that draft. 

And I mean anything. Seriously, ANY. THING. The actions of a waylaid writer can be hilarious to watch, if they weren’t so sad.

Triggers. You’ve heard that oft-used buzzword. Well, consider this a trigger, a clue, for you to recognize, so you can...

  • STOP what you’re doing.
  • Realize this is an escape mechanism you sub-consciously employ.
  • Realign your activity back to that draft.
  • And leaving the escape until AFTER your writing session is done for the day. 

From the outside, people think a writer's life is blessed. Considering the mental exhaustion suffered by a writer after a decent writing session is had, it's maybe more of a cursed life. But hey, we're writers. We can't be anything else. We've tried. We've failed. So, we write, cursed or not.

For a personal example, consider myself, and today…

My house is a 4-alarm mess. I mean, dust bunnies pairing up with dust mites, dancing to the rousing beat of a mariachi flea band. Shoveling, jack-hammering out the dirt may be a more productive way to clean this disaster area than the old vac and dust routine.

I had to get the rec room done today (long, boring story), BUT I ALSO had to complete my weekly social media activities and articles, like this one. (FYI, cleaning for me doesn’t just mean the superficial vac ‘n’ dust. It usually means moving furniture and fumigating the diabolical paw print slime my family leaves in their slovenly wake, in the month I choose not to get off my butt and clean (also long, boring story).

It took me 4 hours to complete the rec room.

My muscles are sore. I'm dusty and dirty, and dead beat. All I WANT to do is veg in front of the TV.

But I KNOW that’s MY CLUE. I’m trying to ESCAPE from my writing work, which also demands my attention.

Minus a severe illness, hospitalization or a fun bout of simply bleeding out and croaking, I KNOW there is NO EXCUSE to not get my writing done each work day. NO. EXCUSE.

  • Nothing new 'n' shiny. 
  • Not a romp to the mall or drinks with a friend.
  • Not working in my yard or the garage or playing a video game or lazing in a bubble bath.

Nothing beyond doing my work is the accepted task before me.

So, here I am, dirty, dusty, housework icky me, completing my writing To-Dos for Tuesday.

Afterwards, I can do what I want, even if that means only a shower and collapsing into a bed coma. But that escape pairing is AFTER finishing my writing work. I recognize my escape clue, and I work IN SPITE of it. I know it's just my urge to escape the hard writing work I need to do.

HOMEWORK: Today, make a list of all the triggers/"clues" you find yourself up against when you should be writing on that draft of yours. Put that list by your laptop or near your phone, or near the coffee machine… anywhere where it’ll remind you that you’re falling for that ESCAPE trigger, and to STOP IT, and return to your writing work at hand.

There’s a time for work and there’s a time for play. Remember your priorities. Put that work horse BEFORE the play cart, not the other way around. Your book draft, and your guilty conscience, will thank you.

Now, excuse me while I head to the shower and delouse. ;-)

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