Tag Archives: writing

Dear Writer’s Block

writers blockDear Writer’s Block, it’s time we part ways.

It’s not you, it’s me.  There comes a time in every girl’s life when she has to put on her big girl panties and face the world head on.  That time has come for me and let me tell you, the big girl panties are chafing my ass big time.  Who the hell makes panties out of steel wool anyways?  Yeah, yeah, I know, big girls don’t whine.  To be fair, I’ve only had my SWBGPs for an hour and they take time to break in.  But fear not, I will break in the undergarment of steel or break my junk trying.

And so with that, I bid you adieu Mr. Block of Writers.  You have served me well in the past.  Always providing a convenient aside from my literary duties.  There were times I admit when I looked forward to your visits and the endless hours of social networking that always proceeded your knock on my door.  And only you could get me to tackle the chores on the bottom half of my to-do list.  Nobody likes scrubbing toilets or clearing out the junk drawer, but your type of motivation got me there many times.  So thank you for that.

But as I said, it’s time for me to face the world, and there’s just no place in this new frontier for your guilty seductive ways.  No more pins and posts and tweets.  No more Netflix marathons that last till Monday morning.  And no more staring aimlessly at blank pages vaguely wondering why there’s no words on that crisp expanse of white.

I’ll miss you writers block.  You know I still love you.  Deep down inside we’ll always have a connection.  But for now we part ways, I to conquer the world in my iron skivvies, you to ply your charms on another slightly desperate soul.    May we meet again on the other side.

NaNoWriMo Book Addict

book addict 2

Week one of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2014 is in the books and I think I have written a grand total of two sentences in my new novel.  And to be fair, the second sentence was an edited version of the first sentence, which itself will really need to be edited, so really it’s a wash.

 

Not looking like a promising start you might say.

 

I’m not daunted in the least.  You see, I have a grand idea, and while I was ready to go half crazed rough draft mode for 30 days, my stronger inclination was to take it down a notch and actually give the idea its due with a full outlining.

 

It probably wouldn’t surprise anybody who knows me to hear that on November 1st, instead of writing, I read a book.  What can I say, I’m an addict.

 

ad·dict

 verb \ə-ˈdikt\

 

:  to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively <addicted to BOOKS :D>
:  to cause addiction to a substance (BOOKS :D) in (a person or animal)

 

 

 

Did I ever mention I really like books?

 

Said book, Screenplay by Syd Field suggested I shouldn’t start writing (a screenplay or novel) without knowing how my story ends.  It makes sense.  Writing is a journey, do I want to wander aimlessly or know my future destination before I leave the front door?  Was there actually a question in there?  I’m not exactly a fly by the seat of my pants type of gal, so I pretty much need to know.

 

That posed a conundrum.  My great idea for a story didn’t include an ending.  Come to think of it, that other half written great idea ruminating in my computer’s memory banks, suffers from aimless wandering in the search of a true destination as well.  Hmm.

 

Brainstorming session:

 

Day 1: What if?

 

Day 2: Maybe I could?

 

Day 3: How about?

 

Day 4: That doesn’t sound too bad.

 

Day 5: Okay I think I’ve got it.

 

Day 6:  Really?

 

Day 7: What if maybe I could,  Yes!

 

I know where my story is going, and I even know all the stops along the way, call me a planner and slap  me with pen and paper.  Time to go half-crazed rough draft mode on this beast.  And relax.  If I don’t have 100,000 words written in 20 days, I’ll live.  I have something better yet, a road map to a destination, and a treasure at the end of the line.

 

I’ll take that over out of gas on the side of the road any day.

 

 

 

How do you write after a hiatus?

How do you start writing again after a four month hiatus?

hiatus

[hahy-ey-tuh s]  
nounplural hiatuses, hiatus.
1. a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.
2. a missing part; gap or lacuna:

Scholars attempted to account for the hiatus in the medievalmanuscript.
3. any gap or opening.
4. Grammar, Prosody. the coming together, with or without break orslight pause, and without contraction, of two vowels in successivewords or syllables, as in see easily.
5. Anatomy. a natural fissure, cleft, or foramen in a bone or otherstructure.

 

Well first, you can’t dwell on the questionality of taking an entire four months off from writing.    I knew it wasn’t a good idea in June when I set my pen down and that point was hammered home as I picked it up this morning and found I had forgotten how to use it.  Isn’t writing like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget?  Right?  Possibly, but that doesn’t account for the squeaks, the rust, the wobbly tires, and the voice in the head doubting the entire endeavor. Can I still do this? Will I end in a ditch on my head with a mouth full of dirt?

In a lot of ways picking up the bike after a spell is easier than picking up the pen.  Physical vs mental exercises.  We walk every day, using nary a though in our head to keep our balance, place one foot in front of the other and move across a room, a driveway, an entire block or more.  Walking uses the same skill set as riding a bike.  But writing?  Writing is the opposite of walking or riding a bike, yes when we are in our own writerly world, the hands fly across the page or the keys with ease, never failing, but it’s the conscious use of the creative centers of the brain that make it such a challenging endeavor and so different than any other activity.   It’s the accessing of those creative synapses that is so hard to recreate for the first time after a hiatus.  The accessing and the translating of creative thought into physical expression – writing.  Believe me, any writer will tell you how fast those skills go rusty.  Sometimes overnight.  But four months.  It’s like I have to learn to write all over again.  And my book, forget it, I don’t even know where to start on that.

Last June, I left my book in a fugue state.  I had just paid for a professional critique of my story idea and it came back red.  At one point while reading through the extensive comments, all I could do was laugh.  I thought I had turned in A+ material, and it threw me into a tailspin to find out I hadn’t.  Reading is subjective and writing is an art form, but there are still key qualities that make a story really good, and while I write because I have stories to tell and I love where writing takes me in my mind, I also would love to do it full time, and that means having enough commercial success to pay the bills, So C- just won’t cut it.

Maybe I should just keep my day job.  (Of course my day job heard me think that and doubled my workload during the summer).

So how do you get back on the writing wagon after falling off and being left for the scavengers?  Here are the proper steps.

  1. Sit you ass back in that chair, in front of that blank page.
  2. Pick up the pen.
  3. Write.
  4. Write some more
  5. And write some more still.
  6. And keep writing.
  7. And when you think you’re finished, write just a bit more.

Writing is a lot like riding a bike, you never actually forget how, you just have to get past that big first step, that self-doubt filled valley of fire and brimstone, with warning signs posted every four inches, warning against traversing the terrain -You can’t do this;  Turn back now before it’s too late;  Imminent death awaits.

  1. Remember that what is inside your head is your best friend and your worst enemy and Valleys of fire and brimstone are ripe with possibility.