Cat-urday Wisdom - Hurdling that Obstacle

And you thought you couldn't overcome the obstacles in your manuscript.


Apparently, this guy couldn't ever see the birds outside the window. So, he found a way around above the problem. (This Caturday Wisdom might become a regular thing. Huh.)

Anyway, so what are you doing to overcome YOUR writing obstacles? My method is to 1) figure out exactly what the obstacle IZ and B) find a realistic, yet simple way to overcome it.

My main two writing obstacles seem to be fear of uncorking suckitude all over my pages and fear of tackling an emotionally exhausting scene (which, since I'm writing a character-driven horror novel, is, like, ALL of them). Wanna know my method for overcoming them?

The Chunkable Writing Schedule with Optional Reward Plan. 
This is merely setting a goal of finishing a small chunk o' the MS (say, a specific chapter or even one scene) and then writing the hell out of it until it's done - no matter if it's good, bad, or complete suckitude (since, as author Elizabeth Gilbert alludes to in her TED talk, whether it's any good isn't actually my business, lol). After the obstacle has been faced, I can haz small reward (i.e., I get to play the Sims 3 for an hour). Or I agree to tackle the media pitch letter of an author press kit, and then I can read my latest Straub novel for 45 minutes before having to start drafting the press release part of the kit next. And so on.

This week, CWSwORP entails getting past the mid-way hump of the novel. For a few weeks now, I've been flirting with the last third of it, but never really getting started (blame endless re-tweaking of some sections and one disastrous left turn at Albuquerque when I shoulda turned right. THAT took a coupla weeks to rectify all on its own). Now that I've missed my first draft deadline once and am SO gonna miss my second, I'm anxious to get solidly in the last third. My goal, then, is to get past this:

45199 / 85000 words. 53% done!

and reach 75% by next week. And I hope to do it via the CWSwORP. Wish me luck! I know I wish you luck in getting past YOUR obstacles this week - just let me know what they are in the comments and I'll send you a personal bit o feline wisdom to help you do it :)

So cheers on reaching your level best - or, yanno, at least standing on your hind legs to catch a glimpse of it.

22 comments:

Lizard301 | April 10, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Shouldn't you be just about done? I have you in my calendar for the 15th of this month.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) | April 10, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Sorry, couldn't think about revising then...was watching the cat. lol.
Good luck with the revision.

Zoe C. Courtman | April 10, 2010 at 4:46 PM

*sigh* I SO should be. But I got lost in a part of the MS and it took me AGES, like WEEKS to correct. (Yep, I smell an excuse, too.) And this week I'm slammed with client work. But I'm ON IT, dammit. ON IT!!!

Zoe C. Courtman | April 10, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Hey, Lindsay! I was LOL-ing at that cat, too. :D Still grinning about it. Thanks for the good luck wishes - I'm trying, man. I'm trying.

Matthew Rush | April 10, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Best of luck Zoe.

Zoe C. Courtman | April 10, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Thanks, Matthew! I think I'm gonna get through this intact :D

Lizard301 | April 10, 2010 at 5:45 PM

I wasn't REALLY nagging so much as just giving you a hard time. You know I love you!

Zoe C. Courtman | April 10, 2010 at 5:47 PM

LOL, Lisa - I know :D But you also keep me honest :D

lbdiamond | April 10, 2010 at 6:21 PM

Yup, I literally said to myself just do one chapter and be proud of that. Focusing on a smaller piece helps me to really bang out a solid scene. So worth it. Great post!

Zoe C. Courtman | April 10, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Thanks for dropping by, Laura! Isn't breaking it down into smaller pieces just easier overall? I think so, too. Great job working on your revisions!!

Amy Jo Lavin | April 10, 2010 at 8:48 PM

I'm definitely a fan of the reward portion of your plan! :)

Lydia Kang | April 10, 2010 at 10:13 PM

Removing suckitude. I'm doing that ALL THE TIME.
That cat video was ridiculously funny. I had no idea cats could do that.

Lisa K. | April 10, 2010 at 10:53 PM

I think you have a great approach to overcoming obstacles. I tend to try to muscle through the obstacles I encounter. When I find myself avoiding my manuscript because I'm overwhelmed with something, then I get strict with myself and start setting strict daily goals.

Talli Roland | April 11, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Love the standing cat -- and your approach to overcoming obstacles, too!

Thanks for dropping by my blog!

Zoe C. Courtman | April 11, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Amy, I know, right? Rewards are the only way for me to achieve Butt-In-Chair :D

Lydia - thanks for popping in! I'm with you there on removing suckitude. Why is there so MUCH of it? Ack.

Lisa K. - fantastic tenacity! I think I'm gonna get muscle-y, too, and set some strict daily goals for myself this week.(Just as soon as I get out of freelancer hell, lol.)

Talli - loved your blog! Thanks for dropping in :D

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) | April 12, 2010 at 8:13 AM

Hey Zoe. I've given you an award over on my blog. Maybe that will help boost the revisions:)

Zoe C. Courtman | April 12, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Aw, thanks Lindsay! I'll mosey on over and check it out :D

Liza | April 13, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Hey Zoe,
Thanks for following my blog. My issues are daring myself to do it, so I give myself small goals. I have assigned a specific day and time each week that I am not allowed to do anything but write. Nothing. Else. If I get more in over the week it's a bonus, but the one day and time are non-negotiable. So far it seems to work, especially as I find that I look forward to the day.

Elana Johnson | April 13, 2010 at 2:12 PM

I'm so into chunking. That's the key. I mean, who wants to think they have to edit 75000 words?? Not I. I'm better with 5 pages or 50 or whatever. :)

Zoe C. Courtman | April 13, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Thanks, Liza! Great way to put it: daring yourself. Cuz that's really what we do everyday we open up a Word doc and dare ourselves to A) start typing and B) string all the words into a cohesive plot. Ack. And I wish I could block off an entire day, but, sadly the Nefarious Inner Zee (a.k.a. Zoe's procrastination genie) never lets that happen.

Elana - hey! Thanks for popping by and leaving a comment! I'm SO there with you. In fact, I'm chunking today as we speak. Only have to finish ONE chapter. Tomorrow, well...I'll chunk something for then (but I don't have to worry about it now).

The Alliterative Allomorph | April 14, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Chunking is the way to go. Any other way is way too overwhelming. I think you get more done that way too, becasue you set yourself small goals. When the goals are smaller, you can get more of them finished, and you feel more productive.

Zoe C. Courtman | April 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Hey, Alliterative!! Thanks for popping in. Overwhelming is right! Though, even chunking has me overwhelmed at the moment. I know it's only me standing between my MS, so I'm gonna chunk it like there's no tomorrow today and finish a significant chapter!

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