Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Kick in the Pants

I got this from Shanna's blog. It was interesting.

You Are a Mermaid
You are a total daydreamer, and people tend to think you're flakier than you actually are.While your head is often in the clouds, you'll always come back to earth to help someone in need.Beyond being a caring person, you are also very intelligent and rational.You understand the connections of the universe better than almost anyone else.
What Mythological Creature Are You?

I was going to blog about going to see Julie Wright on Monday, but Shanna already did it and other than saying Julie is one of the most awesome people I know, I don't have much else to say. It was a wonderful day that had me purging my frustrations with the publishing industry and getting a swift kick in the pants to get back to work. Just what I needed. But it got me thinking today about a poem I wrote a while back - at the LTUE conference actually. Go with me on this, it relates.

You'd think I were about to embark
on a footrace from coast to coast
or a marathon of toilet cleaning
for the dread I feel,
but no --
the hardest step,
the one that hurts the most,
takes the greatest effort
and consumes me with fear
is the simple act
of parking my butt in the chair
to write the first word

So, here's my question: Do any of you ever feel this way? And if so, how have you worked past it? Because to be honest, I've been stuck in this place for about a year and I don't like it. I've got an editor waiting for a book and an agent waiting for a synopsis on another book and I'm stuck, seemingly unable to park myself in the chair long enough to write.

If anybody's got any suggestions, please, PLEASE leave them in the comments. I could use the help.

Quote of the Day: "Writing a book is a adventure. To begin with it is a toy and amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him out to the public." - Winston Churchill


Aneeka said...

Oh, I don't know if mine will be of any help, but I've found that when I'm avoiding writing, I gather all the songs that remind me of the certain story and then I start playing them over and over again while I play solitaire or do some other mindless thing.

I know it sounds dumb, but for some reason, it usually gets me in the mood to work on that story after a while.

Another random thing I do is to take my characters from my story and put them in a random situation, like if they got teleported into Harry Potter's world, and then see what they'd do. ^_^ Just the idea of such a random idea and the fun it is to write it helps me to get back into the love of writing.

Another thing I do is to pull up a blank sheet of paper (or word document) and start describing how I feel and just writing freely for about 20 minutes. I tend to figure out the main problem after a while (it's kind of like when you have a stressful day and you start to complain to someone about all your stresses and then you realize what the main stress is that is stressing you out).

And going off of rewrites, if I'm stuck in a story or have no motivation to do a story, I also like doing freewrites where I just start telling a story, but since it's a freewrite, I don't have to care about spelling, grammar, cool phrases, etc because it's a freewrite! And, I usually do my freewrites in present tense as a better way to turn off my internal editor. :)

I'm not sure if these help, but I hope you get over it soon. It really is a bother when you can't write even though you want to.

Good luck!

Tristi Pinkston said...

That's a great poem, Karen.

I've never gone through a slump for a year, but I've had short slumps and it usually means that something in my life is out of balance. I need to clean my house or get my kids on track or just plain rest more -- and after I take care of that stuff, the writing seems to come back. I wish you gobs of luck -- you sound like you're so close.

700blankpages said...

sorry to hear about you literally being stuck. i've certainly been there for over a year myself, and i'm barely coming out of it (very very slowly). the things that prevent me from writing NOW is mostly my back-drop, if that makes sense... the tv being on; people chit-chatting... the phone, ect... I agree with aneeka though. For me, good music that fits the theme of what i'm writing at the time, helps... but with no words. I like listening to star-wars or some other kind of battle-background if i'm writing action; or enya type of stuff if i'm writing reflective. i'll put it over a good set of headphones and blast it in my head till i'm in the mood; then i'll turn it down so it doesn't distract me.

To be honest, if that doesn't work... i would try writing a scene for your book with exactly how you ARE feeling. frusterated? maybe a little hopeless? feeling like you're going to fail, maybe? i'm sure there are moments in every MC's life where they feel the same. perhaps jump to that moment and write it while it is so very real to you... then when you've expressed everything you need, you'll have room for other emotions that you need for where you're stuck. You never know... "better out than in" right? if i think of anything else i've tried, i'll let you know.


Karen Hoover said...

Thanks you guys. I'm putting a little bit of everything to the test today. Actually, I think I'll blog about it so you know what I mean.

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

First, try to block out a specific time to write everyday. If you write at the same time everyday, pretty soon your mind goes into automatic pilot and starts to create at that time.

Second, it sounds like you know what you want to write--since you have an editor and agent waiting--so just write it. Don't worry about anything but getting some words on the page. You can work with them later. For me, just getting the story out in the first place is the hardest, easiest-to-avoid, part of writing, so that's what I try to do.

A couple other tricks I use are: When I'm first beginning a story, I always put my name, address, etc. in the upper left corner and then space down to the appropriate place and type in a title. Anything will do. And then I'm no longer looking at a blank page. Later, when I'm working on the story itself, and stop for the day, I often stop in the middle of a scene or even a sentence. It makes getting back into the writing mode easier the next day.