Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hesitation


Thursday, January 21

I do not know why I hesitate when I need to get something done (especially my writing). It almost as if the task will overwhelm me if I get too close to it. Thus, I hesitate in committing myself to doing certain tasks.

That is what I do with my writing. I know my story can get quite complicated. This sometimes drives me nuts, and again, I will hesitate to work on it.

In curing this malady, I use several techniques. The first technique is to break down the difficult and confusing tasks into smaller bites. This makes the task less daunting and easier to manage. To me, this technique makes the task less confusing.

The second technique is to force myself to work on it. I find that if I force myself to work on the project, the task at hand becomes easier to work on.

A third technique I use is to take notes about questions the project may bring up. Once I get the note written, I can continue working on the project with very little interruption.

I use all three techniques along with a few more when I work on my writing projects. Usually, when I start a book, I have a beginning, an end, character profiles, and details about the book.

In one of my projects that I titled Book 20011101, I began writing on it several times over the years, but still, I would eventually let it drop to one side. This is because I let it overwhelm me. I saw it as being too complicated.

With the information I had built about the book over the years, I decided to build an outline of the story. I sat down and interviewed the characters to expand on the story line and to find out how they fit in the story.

Using all of this information, I managed to get the first half of the book outlined. Then I started writing the story. Still, this turned out to be a little too complicated to think about. So, I chose to build an outline for each scene instead of each chapter. Apparently, chapters were too big of a chunk for me to chew on.

I found that the hesitation disappeared. Words flowed and soon I found myself at scene 15. Then I passed scene 20. Then for some reason, at scene 25, I found myself hesitating again. The previous 25 scenes carried quite a bit of information.

The story got complicated again. I found myself trying to keep up with the intimate details of my characters, book events and story locations. After I got to scene 25 or 26, I found myself with many questions and details to keep up with. Yet, I have my outlines that can give me details I need about the story.

In technique two, forcing myself to write the story. One of my writer associates called this “bichok.” This stands for Butt In Chair - Hands On Keyboard. I find that if I force myself to write, the hesitation ends and my fingers flow over the keyboard.

Yet, the fact that I find the story has gotten complicated again does interfere sometime while I am writing. To get over this, I bring in the third technique: notes. If I run into a question or can’t remember a secondary character’s name or a location, I hit the “Caps Lock” key and type the work “NOTE:” Then I type the question that I need answered. If it is a character’s name or a location, I type in a series of numbers.

An example of this would be “Don’t worry about 7777. He comes from 9898 and they are known to be a bunch of blowhards.” Then I highlight the question or number using the word processor’s highlight feature. This will allow me to keep working on the scene without getting bogged down. I can come back later and answer the questions or replace the numbers.

To summarize, I break down my tasks into smaller components, push myself to work the task, and take notes along the way. There may be other steps I use but these are my main plan.

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