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You wanted Steps 2 and 3 to showing your character who’s boss, you got ’em. (Read Part I here.)

Step 2: Kick that character out of your bed!
Swithin sure had a sense of humor. He loved to wake me up in the middle of the night, pull me from the comfort of my bed and sit me down in front of the computer to work on that unfinished chapter or compose a scene that he simply had to see realized. Funny, huh? It was behavior like this that made perfectly clear which one of us was working the puppet strings. 

Take your time back. Dictate your own writing hours and set others aside for yourself. Being a writer is hard, no doubt about it, but the freedom to make your own schedule is one of the many perks—not to mention wearing pajamas to work. As long as you’ve been productive during the day, there’s no reason for you to surrender your nights only to wake up an exhausted, non-functional writer in the morning. The next time your character insists on putting a pen in your hand while you’re tying to catch a few zzz’s, push that pesky idea right out of your mind and your bed. You need your sleep.          
Step 3: Call a truce.
Sure, your character taunts you, he challenges you, he steals your thoughts and claims your dreams—he pretty much stalks you—but the last thing you want to do is wage a war. Why do battle with your creativity? 

Remember, harassing you is his job. It’s what he’s there for. It’s why you conjured him up in the first place, to push you to produce a piece of writing that you can really be proud of. 

Before you suit up and jump in the ring, try to see things from your character’s perspective. Swithin wanted to get written just as much as I wanted to write him. Writing isn’t about beating your character into submission. It’s about bringing that internal life that you experience so vividly to the page. This will undoubtedly require a joint effort.  Your character can inform you, if you’ll let him. You’ll both need to throw off your gloves, shake hands, and agree to cooperate.

Keep an open mind. Let your character have a say. So he wants to steal his antagonist’s car when you had planned for him a quiet evening. Give it a shot. He may be onto something. What have you got to lose? 

Once you and your character realize that you’re on the same team, you can finally put your power struggles aside and get down to the very rewarding business of creating. Smile, rest, and write, as partners rather than opponents. Your sanity just may stick around to thank you for it.

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