Tag Archives: Anne Donald

Stop Doing What You’re Doing and Write

This week’s guest post is from group member Anne, a former student of mine. Anne has previously posted on the jerkiness of writer’s block and using journaling to get past it. This week she’s talking about procrastination, which is something I’m sure we’re all very, very (very) familiar with. In fact, I’m so familiar with it that this blog is devoted to writing about the things I do to procrastinate. (Oh, you mean the dog needs walking and then she needs a partner while she watches Fast and Furious and takes a nap? Sure, sure, I can do that. I’ll grade those papers/write that email/pay attention to my to-do list tomorrow.)

And since I bet you’re all also familiar with procrastination, I think you’ll all really enjoy Anne’s post.

This is a guest post from Anne Donald, a member of this summer’s Online Writing Group:

 

“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”

—Don Marquis

This quote describes my writing process at the moment. I have been stuck in the procrastination department for a while now. It seems the methods in the past that have worked are no longer working so I’m in the ever-changing process of tweaking my writing process.

Sometimes reading helps me but most often I tend to get stuck on the reading instead of the writing. I often check out a small pile of books from the library, determined to read all of them, work on my writing, and go to work all at the same time. That’s when I end up procrastinating and get down on myself for not making my writing goal.

So I have been trying to balance myself (I’m a work in progress). I will start testing the “reward” system on myself. I’ve heard it’s worked for other writers. That is when I complete my daily or weekly writing goals I will reward myself. After the said goal is done I’ll use my next day off of work and spend the day reading (with YouTube playing in the background).

Recently, I took Twitter and Facebook apps off my phone and tablet to filter out distractions from my writing. Taking these distractions out of my life — a life already filled with distractions — has helped free up some time. I guess in the long run it all comes down to balance and keeping myself on track so I’m not distracted and procrastinating.

Yes, I will still have days where I spend the day on YouTube watching talk shows and movie clips. But I’m hoping that the hours I would spend checking my Twitter and Facebook, the main source of my procrastination will allow me to get more writing done.

 

Anne, you’re going to do it! We’re all going to do it!

ICYMI: Writer’s Block is a Jerk

I knew I could rely on Anne to write a guest post for this year’s writing group, since she did such a great post last summer, “Journaling Past Writer’s Block,” and since, because I used to be her teacher, I feel like I can still give her assignments. (FYI, Anne: when you are an old, old lady, I will probably call you up and tell you to write an essay about something, and I’ll make you remove all of the adjectives and I’ll make you write it in the present tense [and because I am much older than you I will probably be calling you from beyond the grave, so just be prepared for that, to get a phone call from a ghost].)

Here I am, giving Anne an assignment, and there she is, laughing at me.

There I am, giving Anne an assignment, and there she is, laughing at me.

Anne has been having a hard time writing these past couple of weeks, in part because of her hectic schedule, and in part because of some disgusting writer’s block. So she figured that this would be a perfect topic to write about here, and a nice companion piece to her previous guest post.

This is a guest post from Anne Donald, a member of this summer’s Online Writing Group:

I’m currently in my senior (and a half) status at Columbia College Chicago, majoring in writing. I plan to finish and graduate with a BA at the end of the Fall 2017 semester.

This year has been a challenge for me, and, of course, for my writing. One thing that has helped my writing is when I write about current topics. Also reading has helped break my writer’s block. But I will say the one thing that helped most of all was when I took the course Fiction Writers and Censorship. It’s taught me about many types of censorship and has given me a new view on my writing and my life in general. Without this class I would have continued to self-censor.

The class also helped my writing because it has forced me to create more dynamic characters. For example, I tend to look at both sides of an argument and come to an informed conclusion; and now I can take that characteristic of mine and bring it to my characters. Finally I will say that another tactic, besides reading, is that I have been starting to write more politically. I have never done that before aside from middle school and high school assignments. But it brings a very freeing sense to see my normally outspoken, saucy nature on the page. It’s like a pressure release and a brain dump. Also it gives me alternative ways to develop my characters by using the fiction to bring these issues to light.

 

These are all great ideas for us to keep in mind if we hit a wall, and perfect to consider when thinking of what I was going on about Charles Bukowski earlier this week. And remember: even if you’re not writing something good, you’re writing. Eventually you’ll get past the layers of gobbledygook and into something good, something useful for your project.

(also, everyone: Anne really is saucy. she’s not exaggerating.)

Write on, everyone!

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