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Posts Tagged ‘Writer’s block’

Call it Writer’s Block

On Facebook, I “like” a particular page for writers that regularly posts quotes about writing. Imagine that!

Today, the page administrator(s) posted,

Writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all. — Charles Bukowski

I don’t think I necessarily have writer’s block. I’m not really sure what’s going on with me. Last spring, I hit my stride. I was writing like a madwoman. I would estimate I was about two weeks away from actually finishing a novel for the first time, with two more on its heals. I was on a roll.

Then I went rollerblading one Saturday morning.

Write SomethingI shattered my right wrist and fractured my left elbow. I was in a lot of pain. I had to have surgery to put a metal plate in my wrist and after they removed the splint, I had to wear a brace. My wrist hurt all.the.time. Even if my brain hadn’t been muddled by the pain killers, the pain was too much and I could only type with my right hand, which got tiring.

I lost my momentum. I figured I’d be able to pick right back up where I’d ended, but I couldn’t. I had to restart the book I had nearly finished and now the writing is coming hard and in spits and spurts. I’m frustrated.

Last week, I committed myself to write one hour a day, every day. I managed two or three days of that and haven’t done much else. I can’t get in the mood. I’m annoyed with myself.

So here I am blogging and hoping this little exercise will help me get back on track. While I love that I at least am able to make a living by being a writer, technical writer for a government agency is not my dream. I appreciate that I can be a little creative, that I can spend my days writing and editing and even more, I appreciate the paycheck and benefits that come with it.

I’m also quite afraid that if I do finish writing a novel, I will not find an agent or a publisher. I am afraid to fail. I’m not afraid of failure on its face. I’m afraid to find out that being a novelist is not really the life I was born to live. I’m afraid to lose my dream. But if I never try, I will fail for certain. That’s even worse.

And so back to the grind.

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I guess what I needed was a deadline, a goal. It seems to me that what I’ve been talking about for years is actually within reach.

Last night, I grabbed my little Inspiron Mini and headed to Borders to work on my novel that I’m writing for the NaNoWriMo challenge. I’m way behind (about 9,000 words) from where I should be, but I started five days late. In two days, I’m a little ahead of what the daily goal would be if this were the second day of the challenge. I think, had I worked on this instead of sleeping all day, I would be caught up. Because, in fewer than 90 minutes at Borders, I wrote more than 2,000 words.

Even if I don’t make my goal by November 30, I will not stop writing this novel. I will finish it.

And it’s not just this challenge. My friend Leslee asked me (among other people) to write a short story for her blog, Waiting for the Click. And in a short time one morning, I wrote an 800-plus word short story, completely off the cuff. She’ll publish it November 19. I’ll put up a reminder, but please check it out on that day.

My habit has been to start writing something — I have a lot of great ideas in my head — and then go back to it and re-read what I’ve written and second guess myself, deleting and rewriting entire sections, starting over completely and then finally getting frustrated and giving up. This is why I didn’t even come close to my goal of having a manuscript ready to shop to agents by my 30th birthday … almost three years ago now.

What’s really difficult right now to wrap my head around is that after all these years and all the frustration, in a month, I will have a novel. Finished. Ready to be critiqued and edited and shopped to agents. And that means there is a possibility that I could have a published novel in the next year or two.

The odds are against me in this, but I’m still going to try. And finishing one novel will teach me that I can do it. I can sit and write and actually finish something. And so, even if this is not the book that will be my big break, I will keep writing and one of the books I finish will be.

For those of you waiting for me to finish the book I previewed here, I promise, promise, promise that it will be my next project. When I finish the one I’m currently working on, I’ll pick that one up again and hammer it out.

As for this one, there will be an excerpt published here on Monday for you all to read and tell me what you think. Feedback is very important, so don’t hold back!

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