It's the time of week again, and I've got a doozy of an excuse for you:

"There's something else I should be doing."

This one gets me every time, especially when the "should" is paying work or seeing family and friends. But I have been known to ditch the writing for less rewarding tasks such as decluttering, laundry, food preparation, contest entering and coupon clipping. Sometimes performed all at once.

So how do I show the "shoulds" the door? It's not easy.

Tactic One: bucket-list mentality
You don't have to watch the movie to get this one. All I do is imagine myself on my deathbed or being told that I only have a year left to live (oh yeah, happy thoughts) and I compare the two tasks competing for my attention. Which would I regret not doing more? Writing the novel or folding the laundry?

Sure, most of those comparisons are a no-brainer, which makes the bucket-list mentality totally useless when you have to choose between feeding the kitten and spending time staring at words on a screen until your eyeballs bleed.

Sometimes it's easier to feed the cat. And no, that's not some double-entendre catch phrase that all the cool kids are using these days. Distraction is one of the steps I frequently use to bring forth a Great Shashoomba when I'm stuck with my words. And, sometimes, the place is a disaster zone and I can't find anything because of all the piles of paper on every flat surface of the house.

It makes the cat cranky too, as he tends to slip on the papers when leaping onto the furniture. We won't discuss how the neat-freak DH feels about such matters; he lets me know on days that end in "y".

So when Tactic One doesn't work, I switch gears to:

Tactic Two: moments of greatness
This goes along with my earlier advice on breaking down a goal into bite-sized pieces. Thinking about writing an entire novel is tiring; it just sounds like it's gonna take forever. So I only force myself to sit at the computer for ten minutes of greatness.

That's it. Ten minutes.

Now you're probably thinking, "How much can she possibly write in ten minutes?"

Not a heck of a lot. And that's why this tactic is so effective yet evil: most times, I can't stop at ten minutes. If I'm in a great scene or establishing a cool setting, I won't want to stop. But, by convincing myself that I'll only be working on the novel "for a few minutes," I can get myself into the writing mindset and have the words flowing onto the page. Like buttah.

Okay, maybe not all the time.

How do you stop those "shoulds" from taking over?

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