You’ve made progress on your novel. You’re on your second draft and past the halfway point. You can’t believe it. Once you’re done with this, the novel will need work, edits, polish, maybe even one more rewrite.
The second draft is coherent in a way that the rough draft was not. The rough draft was a mess. Once you have finished the second draft, you have finally finished a book - a novel that needs work, but still a book.
Then your monkey mind starts swinging through the trees and your ADD goes off the chain. You can’t focus.
You remember you forgot to pay the garbage bill. Then while you’re on your phone to pay that bill, you see 2 Facebook Messenger notifications, and wonder who is reaching out to you?
You open them only to find out it’s a nudge to say hello to your latest Facebook friend and another is an annoying group chain.
You leave the conversation and scroll through your feed only to find garbage. You wonder why don’t have the nerve to disable your Facebook account because the bastards are violating your privacy anyway.
Then you remember that you forgot to pay the frigging garbage bill, and if you don’t pay it today you’ll be charged late fees. So you actually pay the bill, and suddenly, watching your favorite Netflix series sounds like the perfect reward for paying that garbage bill at the 11th hour.
But wait a minute. You haven’t written your pages today. You didn’t write your pages yesterday either, or the day before. You feel the stirrings of panic in your belly and guilt weighing your shoulders down into the I-hate-myself slump.
You lose momentum when you miss writing days. You know every day you miss writing only makes it worse because then the Shame Monster comes to life and laughs in your face.
“Slacker,” the Shame Monster chortles. “You’ll never finish that book. I knew you didn’t have it in you.”
I like happy endings.
So in this version of the story, your will resurrects from the dead and comes to the rescue.
Step 1) Tell the Shame Monster to go *%$# itself;
Step 2) Grab a notebook and pen.
Step 3) Write every bit of nonsense and distraction you can think of, every random thought that comes to your head. Write freely and keep your pen moving. Write until you feel calmer, more focused. If you want to time yourself, go ahead.
Step 4) Have a light snack. This step is optional.
Step 5) Open your laptop (or typewriter, some people still use these) and get to the last chapter you were working on when you got distracted. Read that chapter out loud.
Step 6) Any awkward places or light editing that comes to mind, go ahead and make those changes. That gets you back inside your story.
Step 7) When you get to the last lines of the unfinished scene, WRITE. Even if your writing is clumsy, KEEP WRITING until you finish that scene or that chapter.
Step 8) If the writing sucks, allow it. That’s what rewriting the next day is for.
Step 9) Have a light snack.
Step 10) Keep writing. If finishing that scene or chapter didn’t bring you to your minimum word count goal, continue writing the next scene or chapter until you have.
Step 11) If your writing sucks, allow it. That’s what rewriting the next day is for.
Step 12) Write past your minimum word count goal. You’ve slacked off and you need to push through that resistance until you’re in love with yourself and your writing again.
Step 13) Once you feel complete, close down your laptop.
Step 14) Do a happy dance.
Step 15) Netflix and Chill without shame.
For more advice on how to discipline that ADD monkey mind, click here.