Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yo-Yo Writing

You've probably heard of yo-yo dieting, an unhealthy habit of dieting to lose weight, letting the weight return, and then dieting some more. Has anyone ever been prone to yo-yo writing? This term I made up refers to periods of time where you pump out pages and pages of writing and then you take a long break, and then you get back to your laptop, struggle for awhile to get back into the scheme of things, then you pump out a few more pages until you take your next extended break.

Before I became serious about my writing, I had a tendency to yo-yo write. I'd dig deeply into a story for weeks and then take a break for a couple of weeks, maybe even a couple of months. My breaks had nothing to do with writer's block or family obligations, both of which are legitimate reasons for taking a break. It was just that I'd easily let other things take priority to my goal of being a published author. 

Somewhere along the line, I realized yo-yo writing is for those who approach writing as a hobby without genuine motivation to get published. I knew if I wanted to be a published author, I needed to push myself harder. Finishing a novel and publishing a book- neither of those things happen by accident. So I pushed myself and that's how I finished my first novel. 

Honestly, I don't know if this book will get published, but at least now, I know what goes into writing a book. It takes dedication, time management, determination, and lots of butt-in-chair nights. I wouldn't have come this far if I hadn't quit my yo-yo writing habits. 

What do you do to keep yourself from yo-yo writing?

10 comments:

Rebecca Alexander said...

The only way I've come up with is to write every day without fail. 500 word minimum, even on holidays. Otherwise I just lose momentum. It's a bit like chocolate - if I swear iff it I can't have any. A day without writing soon becomes a week...

S.P. Bowers said...

I used to be a yo-yo writer too. I'm glad I decided to take it seriously and see what I could make of it. For me, not yo-yo writing is just a decision. Being determined to be more.

Shelley Sly said...

Sometimes I get burnt out and need a break from a WIP (especially if I'm stuck and need a new perspective), but I don't like to take a break from writing completely. If I need to step away from that WIP, I just write something else: a short story, a nonfiction piece, anything to keep me in the habit.

Lynn Proctor said...

well this exercise helped a lot--maybe i will pretend it is still going on--but i think i hate to admit, the comments where very helpful too--but i guess that is why people want to be published, except for the money part--great post

Ella said...

Great post! I think I am a yo yo writer. I do have to guilty admit, I think lack of skill, family obligations and my muse are throwing me off course. These all sound like excuses...I'm going to make a plan and stick with it! I'm tired of feeling like a yo yo! Thank you :D

Kitty said...

I have a habit of being a yo-yo writer, although I'm much more consistent than I used to be. I like Rebecca's comment - a 500 word minimum should be do-able every single day. Thanks for the idea!

Christine Rains said...

Interesting post. I sometimes procrastinate, but when I want to get down to it, I force myself to sit and write even if I'm not in the mood. It sometimes turns out pretty good!

Jeremy Bates said...

I make sure I write daily, even if it is some notes or scribbling a few lines on a note pad while I am away. I'm still a yo-yo, though.

Denine Severino Taylor said...

I write daily. However, I am struggling with the idea that quantity is no substitute for quality. And that cute, quirky, funny blog writing is not the earth-moving kind of memoir "stuff" I want to write. Whew! I guess you got me thinking. Great post. Thanks!
Denine

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