Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Memos to Myself

Paula reminds herself of what she should and should not be doing.  

Memo 1: Must stop being diverted by my inner editor and learn to write a first draft without agonising over every little detail. I can fix those in the first big edit of the story once it’s all written. So (a) if I can’t think of the exact word I need, I should put something similar, then highlight it so I can come back to it later
(b) if I know I’m using a word or phrase too many times, I should ignore it in the first draft (and again highlight it for future editing)

Memo 2: Must also stop being diverted by research, however interesting it might be. For example, why did I stop writing for ages to look for a surname for a minor character? I definitely need to differentiate between research that’s important to the story, and insignificant details I can sort out later.

Memo 3: Must stop procrastinating e.g. 
(a) kidding myself that playing online Solitaire (etc) is my ‘thinking time’ 
(b) checking Facebook every five minutes and then realising an hour has gone by.
(c) being diverted by Google street view because I want to see what is around the next corner.

Memo 4: Must keep going even when I feel like I am wading through treacle.

Memo 5: Must remember that, with every story I’ve written, I’ve gone through the phase of ‘This story is rubbish, it’s going nowhere, no-one will ever want to read it.’ But I’ve carried on and eventually found myself thinking “Hmm, maybe it isn’t too bad after all” and even “Yeah, it’s turned out to be quite a good story after all.” It’s happened before, and it will happen again with the current WIP (I hope!).

There are countless more messages I could give myself but that’s enough for now. What messages do you think you ought to give yourself? 


  1. These are great! I think we all could use these memos for ourselves.

    I am a big fan of using the highlighter feature to mark areas that need work later so I can move on through the story without a long pause and too much wait time.

    1. I've used the highlighter occasionally, but should really use it much more!

  2. All of the above, Paula.
    My inner editor is merciless, and my ability to get sidetracked should be legendary.
    Deadlines work for me, but how to self-impose...?

    1. My inner editor seems to get stricter with every novel I write!

  3. Oh, I agree with all of them and I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one!