Wednesday, January 25, 2006

EZ Button

Have you seen that new ad campaign for Staples? With the EZ Button? If you're running into problems at work, hit that EZ Button and everything gets done for you. How lovely!

Well, there ain't no EZ Button in the real world.

Writing is like losing weight: There's no easy solution. You want to drop a few pounds? You have to take in fewer calories and expend more. No EZ Button. No short cuts. No magic wand.

Same thing with writing, whether it's the actual writing process or finding the motivation to tackle a tough scene. If it's hard, guess what? No EZ Button, sweetie pants. I have found that when I'm lacking in motivation, it's usually because I'm struggling with something tough. Every once in a while I'm actually fried, but usually, if I'm honest with myself, it's because I'm struggling with a scene or book that's difficult to write. My defenses spring up and I feel unmotivated, but really it's because what I'm trying to do is just so damn hard that it's way easier to give it up.

Like when I used to be a lawyer. I'd be sitting in that law library reading case law and bored out of my mind, and within ten minutes, I'd be sound asleep and drooling all over the Code books. Was I actually tired? No. It was because what I was doing was tough (or boring) and my body was pretending to be tired when really, my mind simply didn't want to work. (and you wonder why I'm not a lawyer anymore...)

I don't fall asleep at the computer, but sometimes I'm equally as unproductive. Like on Monday when I posted about my missing motivation. Well, as soon as I posted that, I sat back and thought about what I'd written, and realized I was lying to myself. The real problem was that I'd been wrestling with my proposal and I simply couldn't get a handle on it. It was just too damn difficult, and my brain shut down.

Taking a day off wouldn't help. I'd come back to the computer, and the same problem would be staring at me, but it would be even bigger because I'd be rusty and I'd have to go back and review everything to freshen up my mind.

So I shut down my email and my explorer for two days and busted it out. And you know what? It worked! I worked through my issues and ended up with a proposal that I'm really happy with.

Now, sometimes it's good to step away. If you're so frustrated that you're blocking your mind's ability to really assess the problem, then yes, walk away. But other than that, the only solution is to sit down and do it.



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