I’ve never had a special place to write. I’ve often envied other writers who post pictures of their little corner, with a chair and desk, notebooks and pens at the ready; often an inspiring view nearby. Sadly, I’ve never lived in a house that had space for a space.
In my early years of writing I believe that in order to be successful, I needed to follow the paths of more successful writers. Did my mentor meditate? I’ll mediate, it will make my work better. Did my mentor move to Taos? I’ll move to Taos, it will help me be more inspired and creative. Did my mentor write for ten minutes straight? I’ll write for ten minutes straight.
I recently had the opportunity to do a beta read on a novel and provide a critique. The experience was both sad and depressing. Everything was off—pacing, character development, and conflict. Keeping all those ponies in harness pulling their weight and working together is complicated. But this is your job as a novelist.
Did you ever play Truth or Dare when you were young? It was probably thrilling, testing boundaries and building trust among your friends. As you said and did wilder and wilder things, your relationships grew stronger and the world opened up to new possibilities. Yet we grow out of Truth or Dare eventually, finding the dares childish, the truths too painful to admit. We learn to guard ourselves too deeply, developing layers of protection.
When I first got the idea to write my novel it sounded fun and I couldn’t wait sit down at my laptop and start writing. It is still fun and exciting to me but I never imagined how difficult it would be to fit in writing along with working two jobs, spending time with my family and keeping my house clean!
You survived November’s month of word carnage (aka NANO), you’re sliding across a sheet of ice straight for the Christmas Tree, and when you get up to dust off the pine needles, the New Year will meet you with a hard glare for your foolishness and demand a plan for the upcoming months. Welcome to the holiday season for writers.
Many authors and students have difficulty starting their projects. For students, often the problem is they aren’t terribly inspired by the topic. I don’t blame them for feeling stuck. It’s difficult find motivation in broad topics like, say, global warming. Once you’ve created a slide showing that poor polar bear swimming in the melted waters of the Arctic, there isn’t much else to say.
Does your writing sometimes feel dead? Perhaps your words stare vacantly back at you like lumps on the page? Or do you feel like a lump as you write? How can you inject passion and danger back into your writing?
Did you see that blur? Were you able to make out the bits of green of Spring 2015? Or the shimmery waves of heat of Summer 2015? Did you miss the burnished coppers of the impending Fall 2015? I sure did. As a matter of fact, when I bothered to poke my head up lately, do you know what was staring back at me?
Ahhh, the joys of tags. These are those pesky things writers tack after a dialogue run. They tell the reader who’s talking or what they’re doing, or sometimes they do both. These innocuous critters have stirred up quite the debate in the writing community. I’m sure you’ve heard them, whispering in the corners of the coffee shop or library:
It is my belief that every writer should go to a writer’s conference at least once, whether it’s in your genre or not. There are plenty of people who go to the RWA Conference who are not “romance writers” per say.