"When I finally commit to a novel or even something short I like to get it done and not lose momentum. I find inertia plays a big part in getting through a novel and keeping an even tone to the writing." –Eric Beetner
I've been having a really hard time getting to work lately. Not sure what the problem is, but it's been bad, folks.
I decided to ask a few of my writer friends what they do to shake off the lazies and get to work. First up is Eric Beetner, author of numerous short stories, novels and novellas. His latest novella, DIG TWO GRAVES, is available from Snubnose Press on the Kindle.
But since distraction is the order of the day for me lately, let's start with Eric's great trailer for DIG TWO GRAVES:
All right, now that that's out of my system let's get on to the real purpose of this post. 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?
Eric Beetner: I think everyone struggles with this at least a little. Thankfully, I don't very much. I also don't beat myself up if I'm not writing. I'm not one of those "I have to write everyday" people.
That said, when I finally commit to a novel or even something short I like to get it done and not lose momentum. I find inertia plays a big part in getting through a novel and keeping an even tone to the writing. I like to be in the same head space the whole way through, and for me, the easiest way to do it is to keep on a tight schedule. It's why I don't start until I have a full road map of where I'm going, and why I won't start something if I know I have a big break coming up, whether work or otherwise.
For instance, I recently moved and I have two novels I would love to write but I knew better than to start something I couldn't follow through with. I'm gearing myself up to start right now, but this is when I face the inertia of not having written for a while. Other things have gotten in the way too like catching up on other projects that got put aside during my last novel. Things that pay a little bit and involve other people who are waiting for me.
But these are all wonderful problems to have. No complaints. I'd always rather be busy than stagnant. It's funny how being busy in other aspects of my life actually fuels the writing. You'd think a calm non-writing life would lend itself to more writing, but I find it leads to more lazy movie-watching and sleeping.
In the end, if I ever feel like I'm not writing when I should be I can be very hard-assed with myself. "Suck it up and sit down at the keys, boy!" That kind of thing goes on in my head. And some of the best nights of writing I have ever had have started out as times when I did not want to write at all.
Holly: Thanks, Eric! I like this idea of having a "full roadmap" before starting the novel and then plowing through to get it done. I'm the sort of person who needs that direction or I start to waver and go off course.
In the coming days/weeks, I'll feature additional writers who've come forward and offered me advice and/or commisseration.
One Reply to “Get to Work – Eric Beetner”
I remember an interview with Francis Ford Coppola where he encouraged young writers to get married and have children because – if I remember correctly – there is so little time to devote to writing that it will be focused and must be good because so much is on the line.