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Have you ever lost interest in something you were writing?

I’m in a little bit of a rut.  I know I can easily write 1000 words a day (I only have about an hour a day to write) but for the past few days, I just can’t seem to do it.

For some of the time, it is because my thoughts keep straying to a different story that I want to write.  I KNOW that if I followed my muse I’d be spitting out 1000+ words an hour.  But if I did that, I know I probably would never get back to what I’m writing.

Is there anything wrong with what I’m writing?  No.  It’s just not “calling to me”—You know what I mean?

The funny thing is, I am around the bend of the “rising action” and I am staring my climax in the face.  Just two more scenes until I start blowing things up. Oh, Yes! This one will make the Little Blue Lady from Mars very happy!  It will make me happy… but I’m just “bored” in the process of getting there.

Is my story boring?  I don’t think so (of course no one has read more than the first 500 words during Sunday Snippets.)

I know, I know… set it aside for a while and follow my muse… but I can’t.  I’m writing to a deadline again.  I have only a few more weeks to finish, go to beta, revise and submit… and I’d like to give myself a little extra time in case they ask for a re-write before the deadline.

Ugh.

I think part of it is that I can’t motivate myself to start, and once I get the motivation, I only have about 25 minutes of writing time left… so I dump about 450 words on the page and then have to stop.  If I had more time in a sitting, I would probably be able to keep going.  I guess that’s the sob story of everyone with a full time job, and a part time job plus a family to take care of.

So what about you guys?  Have you ever tired of something you were writing when you were so close to the “good part?”

_JenniFer____EatoN

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Digging through the monotony of writer’s block. Yes! It can be done!

I was recently a ROW 80 sponsor.  This is a re-blog of the post I did for Row 80, in case some of you didn’t bop over there.  Enjoy!

So, how are we all doing?  Having trouble getting started?  Ugh!  I hate that too.

Personally, I don’t believe in writer’s block.  What you need is just a little inspiration.  Where do you find inspiration?  Well, anywhere.

A good solid writer can make a story out of anything.  You just need to take that first step forward.

But how do you take that step?

Did you see a billboard or magazine advertisement this morning?  Take the person in that picture and write about them.  Are you stuck in the middle of your novel and don’t know where to go?  Read on, my friend, read on…

Here is my method of getting started.  It has never failed me.  You need to start with a character or a setting.  Who or where does not matter.  Just start.

If it is a character, have them take a step.  If it is a scene, just show your reader where they are.  I am going to grab a name out of the air, and see what happens.  Okay?  John is the name.  Here we go:

“John shivered as the cool breeze slapped at his cheeks.  The walk ahead was long and hard, but he needed to make this journey.  More than anything else, he needed to find Geraldine.”

Now, I had no pre-conceived idea in my head when I started.  I just grabbed the name “John” out of the air, and added a setting element.  Within a few seconds, he was looking for someone named Geraldine… and that was completely unplanned.

Now, I just need to let the story “happen”.  The seeds have been planted.  John has to walk in the cold.  Where is he going?  Dunno, but I know it leads to Geraldine.  Isn’t that exciting?

The way I’ve use this method in the middle of a novel, is I take a character, have him sit outside a door, and actually write his thoughts as he figures out what he needs to do.  He doesn’t know what’s going to happen… you don’t know what’s going to happen either.  Just work it out together.

Now, you might not actually be able to use that 2-3 paragraphs that you write in that character’s POV, but just writing and “getting into their head” will start the creative juices flowing.

The important thing is to get words on the page.  Once they start flowing, you might be surprised how hard they are to stop.

Unfortunately, now I’m DYING to know more about John and Geraldine.  Ugh.  Another story begging to be written.

Good luck!

Guest Post: Writing Inspiration and Creativity By Kristin Battestella

Writing is youth.  It isn’t outside the box.  Stop thinking about all that advice that says break the rules, twist the genre, create something no one has ever created before!  Get rid of all those ultimatums in your head and actually do it.  Open that Toy Box!

Writing in many ways is play-acting.  You are creating an imaginative world. Even if you describe a real world setting that you know intimately,  one must put a spin on the senses, invoke feelings, and let strangers reading your books know what it is like to be here or there ten, fifty, one hundred years from now.  How can you do that if you simply sit at your desk, K-cups, internet and all? Even when writing a completely serious decidedly non-childlike manuscript, you should behave in a child like manner during the initial writing composition.  Return to your youthful memories, sense of wonder, and life altering experiences to make your paper world come to life.

Does your character hate au gratin potatoes and fish sticks because you yourself had horrible experiences with gross cheese clumps and limp, pasty fish?  Write it down!  It’s not dumb.  Never think anything you write is too dumb.  So long as it says something important about the character’s mind and personality or motivations in your text, any quirk or mannerism that creates a fully developed person and reader embodiment is a good thing!

And speaking of embodiment, how can you expect readers to inhabit your work if you don’t do so yourself?  I’m not saying you have to kill someone for your horror or sleep with many people for your erotica, but finding ways to experience the times, places, thoughts, and feelings of your characters and manuscript environment should be paramount.  How do you know if your character hates corsets unless you try one on yourself?  Maybe she-or he!- actually finds them quite comfortable because you went to a fancy lingerie store and got fitted yourself.  And hey, check out those adult shops to spice up that erotica or use Weird NJ as your roadmap to creepy or notorious places.  And what do you do with all these newfound experiences of yours? Write them down!

It’s all fine and dandy to write with a quill on antique paper as your players may have done. Dress up like them before the pc, even!  Don’t scoff. Just ask yourself, ‘Why not?’ Try wearing a wig in your character’s style to the grocery store and see what happens.  Do your neighbors already think you’re a whirlwind of fun? Or will you surprise someone, maybe even yourself?

Use the physical freedoms and whimsy already about you to free your mind and imagination.  After a seemingly drastic character embodiment experiment, it becomes easier to find your story sources in everyday things.  Can you fit in your kitchen in a hoop skirt? Would your glamorous blonde ever do the laundry?  Open yourself to creative foreplay and experiences for a magical writing experience!

http://vampfam.blogspot.com/

     

Hey! Look at me! I’m a ROW 80 Sponsor!

Wahoo!  We are well into Round 2 of Row 80, and I am proud to be one of the sponsors helping out the lovely and talented Kait Nolan on her ambitious endeavor to keep writers writing.

Today, you can find me ranting about how to get started on a new work, or how to write your way out of writer’s block over at the Row 80 site.  (Just scroll down after Kait’s Wednesday check-in to see my words of wisdom)  Hop on over and give a look.

As for me?  Where am I?

I am struggling to keep my head above water… that’s where I am.  I was hoping to have a sports-free spring, but that didn’t work out.  Why do parents suffer when kids want to do sports?  My goodness… I want to support my kids, but what a time suck!  Don’t these other parents have writing to do after their normal workday?  Blogging?  Publisher’s deadlines?  Critiquing?  Oh… I’m the only one who does that.  Ergghhhh.

I am sticking with my one goal for 2012.

And guess what?  If you haven’t heard… YES!  I am getting published!

See that pretty little book cover to the right?  Yep, that’s my name!

But signing the contract does not mean the work is done.  I’m busy editing and reworking right now, and working through my marketing plan.  It’s tons of work.

I’m also playing around with a new idea in my head.  I need to get it outlined so I can start the fun of exploding things writing something new.  I guess that is my short-term goal… get through the outline so I can get to the fun part.

How are things in your writing world?

Biggest Mistakes New Authors Make #2—Jumping the gun- Writing Non-linearly

At a recent Author’s panel discussion, Jonathan Maberry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jon Gibbs, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Kristin Battestella discussed the biggest mistakes they believe writers make.

Mistake number two was not writing linearly, which means not writing your story from start to finish, beginning to end, without jumping around.

Everyone gets great ideas while they are writing.  When you get one that happens later in the story, do you stop and write it?  I admit, I do this all the time.

To keep yourself moving, have a folder called “revision notes”.  Rather than jumping back to something you wish you wrote, or hopping forward to a great idea you have… place the idea in a “notes folder” so you don’t forget it, and then keep writing.  This will keep you focused on where you are.

I admit I am guilty of this in a big way.  I have whole chapters that are written that will not appear until book five or six, and I don’t have book one published yet… This is why book one probably needed so much editing.

Who else is guilty of this little gem?

Jonathan Maberry:  www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail:  www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail:  www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs:  www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard:  www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella:  www.jsnouff.com/kristin

I think we need to slow things down… just a little

I just got through a ten-week experiment.  I decided to try out blogging every day.

I did this for two reasons.  #1 to see if I could do it, and #2 to increase readership.

What I found was an initial spike in average views per day, then a lull that made me wonder if daily blogging had become annoying to people.  But then Boom! A spike again, along with added followers.

I’m not really sure what the magic formula is.

In general, I’m not crazy about people who blog every day.  Why?  Because most people run out of interesting things to say.

I did learn that I DIDN’T seem to run out of things to say.  I guess that’s a good thing.  My problem is time.

I suppose if I just dropped words on the page without the graphics I would be able to keep up.  But how boring is that?  I like the graphics and interactive-look of the blog.  But BOY!  Does that take time!  I’ve also found that I am getting lazier and lazier on the graphics.  Sometimes, I am just too dern tired and want to just get it done.

So, I’m stopping my little experiment.  Before this, I used to blog on Mondays and Fridays, but it seems looking at the numbers that most of you read on Monday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Monday is usually my big topic night…. First Gold Mine Manuscript, then Writing to a Deadline, and now Road to Publication… and I have a few great topics all lined up.

I might keep Monday for “Series Topics” if everyone’s into it.

So, tell me… what days are good for you?  Which days would you like to see post from me?

What’s a good night for “tuning in” to a weekly blog series?

If I can wrangle in the Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer regularly, (Which looks pretty plausible right now) how often and on which days would you like to see a review from a kid’s perspective?

At any rate, if you stop by one day and see yesterday’s post, don’t fret.  I’ll be back the next day.  Once in a while though, I need some R & R.

How many times during a week do you think is “just right” for a blogger to post?

Finish Your Story Already!

At a recent NJ Author’s talk on “Getting Published” (Click here to read my post from that night), I got a great piece of advice from best-selling author Jonathan  Maberry.

With all this NANO buzz going around, I am reading multiple blogs that say many of you are writing “really fast” just to get your word count in, and then going back and editing it so it sounds better, and then you plow forward again to make your word count (now even more stressed because you took up your writing time editing).  REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT.

Jon’s advice was not to re-write too soon.  He said to write your first draft all the way through. Once you are done, then you can go back and revise.  This is what he calls the “art of writing”.  He said that your first draft will concentrate on the substance… This is where the best part of the story comes out on the paper (or screen).

Don’t worry if it’s perfect… just get it all down and out of your head.  Once you have your idea all down in front of you, then you can concentrate on the “craft”.

Now is the time to add setting and character description if you missed  them the first draft.  Look at your punctuation, and watch for writing crutches and clichés.  Cut out scenes that don’t fit.  Re-write what’s just plain bad.  All this is part of the “craft” of writing.

So, if you’re NANOing, or just out there writing a great story at your own pace…  Don’t stress over it.  Enjoy the art of writing.  This is the best part for an author… having your vision materialize for others to read.

Worry about making it sound good later.  You will have plenty of time to edit when you’re all done.

Jennifer Eaton