Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Dither Factor

Remembering Marsha’s pep talk, I turn to one of my favorite web newsletters -- the free emailed monthly “Writing World: A World of Writing Information for Writers Around the World”. The newsletter is part of Moira Allen’s cornucopia of writing links to genres (including children’s, of course), how-to, book resources, craft specifics, marketing, self-help, “Free Stuff for Writers,” book reviews, and a gazillion more. Plan to stay a while.

In Moira’s Feb. 2 editorial, “The Dither Factor” is when a writer’s worked so hard on Project A, B and C that he (or she) gets sick of them, but doesn’t want to begin Project D or E because, well, the first projects haven’t been finished. As a result, nothing gets done.

Sound familiar? To rid yourself of “The Dither Factor” (after piling guilt upon your head and having to take a nap to knock it off), Moira writes that you “go work” on one project and then stop, and -- deliberately -- and move to another.

Simple enough. Key words here are “go work”.

Her steps:
Streamline your literary plate to only a few writing tasks at a time rather than several so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. “Rotate” from one to another of THOSE tasks in an intentional, purposeful manner until you’re finished.

This way you’ll get at least one of them completed, even if it’s done chunk by chunk. Thanks, Moira!


  1. Oh. My. God. How did you look into my writing soul? Does Hamline sisterhood/brotherhood (Hi Ron & Gary) facilitate that?

    Dither...cue the zither.

  2. Wow. Great. Question. I find myself wanting to work on several different projects to learn the different crafts while a student (middle grade, PB, creative non-fiction...) How do you get out of one character's head and into another without a delay in time? It took me almost four weeks to leave on project alone completely.

  3. Alicia, you've got a whole choir of muses to sing your praises with such writing enthusiasm. As long as you're involved with one project, stay with it. If you must stop, stop at a point, say, in the middle of a scene, so that when ou return you can connect with the drama and continue.
    If I'm understanding you about moving from one character to another "without a delay in time" I guess that's up to you. If you need to prioritize projects, consider giving yourself staggered deadlines so that you can finish each one by time. Or ... just keep writing and enjoy the ride! Or write then zumba then write then zumba ..