31 Days: Day 8 ~ The one on writers block

Writers block.  When I was writing my book, I was pretty sure that I was facing the worst case of writers block EVER.  I would write a sentence and then delete it.  As I mentioned in day 5, my characters were silent.  It wasn’t even like they just didn’t like the direction I was going, they were giving me the cold shoulder.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewcoffman/4815205740/

Welcome to day 8!  If you’re just joining me, please take a peek at days 1-7 HERE!  I’ve posted quite a few clips of my book as well as some other tips on writing.

Part way through my writing, the words vanished.  Like I was walking through a desert looking for words like one looks for water.  Several things were instrumental as I dealt with this desolate time.  

First of all, giving myself the permission to be frustrated and not feel like I just HAD to get something on paper on that story.  I found it extra frustrating to just write a scene in my book that I knew wasn’t good enough – wasn’t going to hack it.  Plus, my characters got grumpy when I did that.  The last thing I needed at this point was to irritate my characters.  Especially Blaze… he get’s vindictive.

So, if I needed to be creative but my characters weren’t cooperating, I would work on another story.  I always have a few in the works.  Mostly they will never see the light of day, but they give me somewhere to vent my words if I need to just write.

I was expressing my frustration to my writer aunt and she said something that helped profoundly (and so I made a photo with it).

Write or Edit

I realized that what she said was true.  I was trying to edit as I went.  I was confusing myself in my goal.  My goal, first of all, needed to be to get the story out.  Editing would come later.  I would second guess myself and staunch the flow of the words.  It was not helpful at all.

Kevin Kaiser wrote about writers block too and I still read it when I’m feeling stuck.

A lot of it is fear.  We fear that we will write the wrong thing, that the words won’t come out the way we want.  Write the words.  Write the scenes.  My friend Shan said that her favourite part about writing is the editing process.  (I think she may be crazy!)  She loves hacking at her stuff.  That’s the joy of editing.  Anything that you write can be changed, but for now… pure first draft.

Try it.  There’s something really freeing in pure first-drafting.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t flow as well as you want it to.  Don’t worry that the wording isn’t quite right.  Don’t worry about all the little, tiny details.  Just write what comes.  The machete can come out later and you can hack at the jungle of words then.

Above all, just don’t quit!  That story wants out and you want to write it.  Push through the tough times!  You can do it!

Have you ever faced ‘writers block’?  What did you find helpful?  Let’s help each other! 🙂

~Sarah

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Writer Wednesday… on Thursday

Write bravely

I’m starting book two.

I’m starting book two!!!

When I first began book one, I had no idea it would wind up where it is right now…. about to go out to beta readers!  Yay!

Now, I’m sitting here staring at four pages of book two and I’m nervous.  I know, I know.  If you frequent my blog you’ll know that this is nothing new for me.  I’m a chicken at the best of times.  If something can go wrong, I’m pretty sure that I shouldn’t even try it.  Just in case.

I have no doubt that I have missed out on many wonderful occasions, events and tasks because I am a chicken.  Some of my best memories are from events I was forced into – or forced myself into – and I am so glad for them.  With these memories in mind, I am going to step up and write bravely.  I am going to put the words on paper even though I am nervous and worried.

I am in love with my first book.  If I sit down to read, it’s often my own manuscript that I pick up.  Part of my nervousness comes from the thought that I won’t like book two.  I love the main character already.  Seriously, I’ve been in love with him since book one.  I’m just afraid that I won’t write this one as well.

However, after I hit publish on this post, I will go back to my main character and write as bravely as I can.  I want his story to be just as good, if not better.  I’ll be brave, if for no one else but myself.  Oh… and him.  🙂

Write bravely my friends!!!

The pic below is my Ian.  (yes, I do know this is Ryan Reynolds)  

He has always been the closest in looks to the Ian in my head!

Ryan Reynolds 2~Sarah

The Next Big Thing!

I’ve been tagged! Credit for this fun goes to my wonderful friend Ronie Kendig.
(Thanks for indulging me… I had no idea what I was getting into.  This was tougher than I thought it would be!)

The rules of the blog hop:

  1. Mention who tagged you, and link to their post.
  2. Give the rules.
  3. Answer the ten questions below.
  4. Link to several more people.

I’m excited, so here I go!

1) What is the title of your next book?

At the moment I am working with the title A War Within.  Though, it may change yet.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Actually, it started out as a very fast-paced dream that stayed with me when I woke.  Before I knew it, my characters were pestering me to write.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It is most certainly an action, but there is an element of romance too.  I would tend to classify it as an thriller.  Can it be a romance-thriller?  Is that a genre?

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’ve had these actors in mind since the beginning of my writing, though one has only acted in music videos to the best of my knowledge.  Kate Bennett would be played perfectly by Lindsey Stirling.  She has the perfect pixie look and is spunky enough for my heroine.  I always pictured Chris Hemsworth (though he’s a bit too old in this image) as my hero Chris Tyrgar.  He has a strong look and had the same piercing blue eyes that my hero does.  Tom Hiddleston was my villain Blaze from the moment that I woke.  He has the perfect look.  Quite charming and dashing, yet could play quite evil very well.

Lindsey Stirling Chris Hemsworth Tom Hiddleston

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Betrayed by her family, Kate must now fight against them with those she’s long thought the enemy.

 6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Yes.  Lord willing one or the other.  Having never done this before, I can only just pray God leads me to where I should go.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I wrote ‘The End’ six months after I started.  The long dreamt of moment made me feel like I could fly!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Good grief, this is a tough one.  I feel a bit shy about comparing my work to a published and well-loved author.  I suppose it feels a bit like the ‘Highland Hills’ series by Kathleen Morgan, except not Scottish.  (My apologies to Kathleen if, when this is published ;), she reads it and thinks me absurd!)  The action is, I hope, similar to books by one of my favourite authors (and the one who graciously tagged me) Ronie Kendig.  Though I still have a ton to learn!

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

God knew my desire to write a book.  I didn’t think that it was something that I was supposed to pursue, but then it was as if He had flicked a switch and provided the words.  I feel so blessed that He, yet again, has given me a desire of my heart.  I feel like He’s released a part of me that had been captured by fear and doubt. Now, I just have to trust that He knows where I’m going from here and not get caught in the same trap again.

And, my Dad.  FOR YEARS he has been saying ‘Sarah, you have a book in you.‘  I used to smile and nod but, as usual, it turns out that he was right.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Kate seems to have a knack for getting into tough situations but she’s surrounded by characters that each have their own unique roles in her world.  It’s a pretty fast paced book and I hope that the thrills and agonies of Kate and Chris will keep readers entertained if not enthralled.  The ending was a surprise to me and I think that it will be to anyone who reads it!

The NEXT Big Thing is:

Camy Tang (because she rocks the strong female leads!!)

Shannon Dittemore (I cannot get enough of her books!!)

Melanie Dickerson (I love her version of classic fairy-tales!!)

Anne Elisabeth Stengl (She writes fabulously!!)

Kathleen Morgan (Who probably won’t see this, but her books have inspired me!!)

Write on!!

Do you have a book?  Want to be tagged and take part in the fun?  Just leave a comment here and I can tag you!  🙂

~Sarah

The Focus

I have not forgotten you… those of you who take the time to read my blog.  You are dear to me.  You make me smile when I see that you’ve visited.

So, though this will be short, I wanted you to know that I will return soon.

The novel I am working on is moving along at such a fast clip, with ideas flowing like water, that I dare not even stop to think of a creative post.

There is a bitter-sweetness to sensing the end of a book coming. It is like this when you are reading and even more so when you are writing. I can feel the words running together and drawing to a close. A dream from childhood… coming to fruition. Odd, this sensation. Exhilarating and edgy at the same time.

Thanks for your patience!

~Sarah

Writers Block…

“Many artists (myself included) believe that creativity is a mysterious process over which we have no real control. We’re more like antennae that, if attuned, can pick up the creative atmosphere.”  ~ Kevin Kaiser

My antennae is broken…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewcoffman/4815205740/

I feel like this guy.  Tons of ideas in my head but I just. can’t. get. them. out!  Words have eluded me.

I used to just write whenever the mood strikes and then quit when the mood left.  I so badly want to finish this first draft of my book but I just sit down and stare at the computer.  The first 30,000 words flowed like water.   The next 20,000 were more sparing.  Now, I feel like my brain is stuck in the mud.  Like my creativity is spinning it’s wheels, hung up on an unseen object.  The most frustrating thing is that the ideas are all there, just not the words.

As I wrote this blog I was on Facebook too.  My Aunt, who also writes, sent me a message and we chatted for a bit.  I mentioned the writers block and she asked me straight up: “Have you been revising as you write, or pure first-drafting?”

I admitted that I’ve been revising as I go (already realizing it was something I needed to change).  My Aunt then said:

Write or Edit

So, I’ll take my brilliant Aunt’s advice and go do some ‘bad writing’ or pure first-drafting.  I’m actually looking forward to it.  The words that flowed at the beginning were pure first-drafting and then I got hung up on revising.  Hope the words flow again.

Do you ever struggle with writers block?  Wanting to write so badly but not being able to?  What do you do when writers block hits?  I’d love to hear from you!  Please share this if you think someone would benefit from reading this!

Sarah