by Antonio Litterio
POMODORO TECHNIQUE: Every writer hits a wall at some time. Home and family keep enticing you away from your project, the weather’s tempting you outside, you really fancy a coffee (so why not pop out for a cake at the same time?)…the list of distractions goes on. Deadlines concentrate the mind wonderfully, and that’s how the Pomodoro (TM) Technique works. You can find out all the technical details and backup by clicking here: but it’s basically a carrot-and-stick approach. The beauty of this system is its simplicity. Basically, all you need is a kitchen timer, and a great incentive to act as a prize when you’ve finished your writing project. That trip to the coffee shop would do! Set the timer, then do nothing – absolutely nothing – except write until the alarm goes off. Then do a short burst of something completely different. Take a walk, make a phone call – anything that doesn’t involve your work. Then repeat, for as long as it takes.
ESCAPE, CHANGE AND ESCAPE: The brightest white-heat of inspiration can begin to cool when you’ve been working on a writing project for while. You started off with a brilliant idea, and you’ve got an end in mind. Fine. It’s filling the valley between those two peaks with the best words in the right order that’s the problem. It can get you bogged down in a muddled middle ground. Take a break for an hour, a day, or a week – for as long as your urge to tell your story will let you. Then change everything. Rearrange your writing day, including the place and time you do your writing. Change the point-of-view of your narrative. Try adding more dialogue, or less: write an exterior scene if you were trapped in an interior, or vice-versa. Don’t be afraid to ditch anything that isn’t working but never throw away or permanently delete anything. You never know when it might come in useful at some other time.
SUCK IT UP: It isn’t earning money that makes you a writer: it isn’t even publication (let’s face it, there are several ways of getting into print these days they aren’t all quality-based). The only thing that makes you a writer is the urge to tell a story. It’s a compulsion that won’t let you go. That drives your determination to turn that idea into the best piece of work you can. Finishing that project will mean sticking at it no matter what. You may come up against disbelievers in your own family. If you want to get into print, you’ll have to convince yourself that rejection from agents and publishers isn’t personal – it’s only your work that doesn’t fit, not you. Accept praise graciously, and give it generously to others where it’s due. Learn from constructive criticism, ignore the unhelpful sort and above all, avoid reading bad reviews. They are only one person’s opinion, on one particular day. Above all, enjoy yourself and it’ll be reflected in your work.