Get to Work – Kris Neri

"Shortly before I fall sleep, I remind myself where I left off and what I'll want to tackle the next day." – Kris Neri

As you know from this post, I recently asked several of my writer friends how they motivate themselves to do the writing. Sometimes, all it takes is getting that first word down–but you'd be surprised how difficult it sometimes is to just do that.

I admitted to a serious case of the lazies in that post, but since then I've made some good progress on my revision of Diary of Bedlam. I'll be done with the revision today, with what I call "copy edits" starting tomorrow.

Magical_alienationToday my friend Kris Neri stopped by the blog to offer her tips for staying on track. Kris is the award-winning author of the Tracy Eaton mystery series, the Samantha Brennan and Annabelle Haggerty magical mystery series, and several stand-alone titles. Her latest novel, Magical Alienation, is nominated for a Lefty Award this year. She also co-owns The Well Red Coyote bookstore in Sedona, Arizona.

So here's the question I asked:

Do you have trouble buckling down and getting to your writing? If so, what is your no fail (or mostly no fail way) of getting yourself concentrate and get the work done? Or is it such a habit now it's really not a problem?

Kris Neri: The second half of any book seems to create a decent level of compulsion for me, but I sometimes have to push myself during the first half. My best technique for keeping my mind in a book that I'm not too far into is to actively work at using my unconscious. 

Shortly before I fall sleep, I remind myself where I left off and what I'll want to tackle the next day. I address any questions I might have about the next segment, and tell myself the answers will come to me before I settle down to write. And lastly, as I drift off, I visualize myself seeming really engaged in my writing, not frustrated because I don't have enough time. If I do that regularly, I'm able to make better use of small amounts of time, and I never really leave the book.

I'm also a big believer in starting the day with journaling. The act of starting the day writing something, anything — even if it's misspelled brain dribble — helps me get into writing mode. Unfortunately, I still have to work at it some of the time.

Holly: Thanks, Kris! I like the idea of actively putting myself into the mind set of writing, the process of visualizing engagement in order to acheive it. This is something I'll definitely be trying.

Holly West

4 Comments

  1. Thanks Holly and Kris. The “novel journal” is a great, great idea. I think I first read about it from Sue Grafton. She starts with a bit about what’s going on with her, and then works out plot questions, too. It’s worked for me.

  2. James, I learned the novel journal idea from hearing Sue Grafton speak about it, too. I’m glad it works for you, too. It sure works for me.

  3. Holly, thanks for including my advice. I hope it helps others. Sadly, we writers always seem to find ways to jump-start ourselves!

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