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

Interview with Shannon Dittemore~Author of the ‘Angel Eyes’ Series

shannon dittemore

This is my very first author interview and I am so honored to have Shannon Dittemore here to chat with me!  YAY!  I admit, reluctantly, that I’ve only just discovered Shannon’s amazing talent in the last year.  Now I cannot get enough of her writing!!  I wait, less than patiently, for each new release.  (No pressure Shannon!… wait, yes, lot’s of pressure!)  😉

I hope that you’ll come back on Saturday for my review of Shannon’s new book Broken Wings!  I am only including part of Shannon’s interview here because I want to tease you into coming back to see the rest on Saturday.  I may have asked Shannon for some hints about her next book Dark Halo… are you hooked now?  I’m excited!

Thanks so much Shannon for doing this!  I’m so grateful for your willingness to take time out of your busy launch schedule to talk with me!  🙂  Let’s get right into it!

What do you like most about writing fiction?

The let my imagination run wild part. Creating worlds, fleshing out characters, letting them run straight into a dilemma, making it worse for them, and then swooping in with the answer. I love writing fiction best when it feels like reading. That means my own words need to surprise me and my characters have to be real enough to make choices I’d have never made for them.

When you are writing, do your characters stay on your mind even when you are not writing?  Particularly when writing emotional or stressful sections?

Yeah. Sometimes I wish I could shut them out, but they often give me great material when they’re haunting me. There’s a scene in Broken Wings—a flashback of sorts—and Brielle is about three years old. When I first drafted that scene, my daughter was also three. That was intensely personal few days.

What is the most exciting thing about publishing your books?

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a reader telling me how much my stories mean to them. To me, that’s the best part. Genuinely connecting with other people. Letting story do the hard part of breaking the ice and then sharing something as simplistic as a tale. It’s funny, isn’t it? I think what terrifies me the most, is also what excites me the most. I bet God’s laughing at me right now.

I admit that I may have laughed a tiny bit.  Tell us, who are some of your favourite authors?

So many! There is an author I will shove everything aside for and that’s Tasha Alexander. She writes the Lady Emily mysteries and I’m obsessed. I’m also a big Hunger Games fan, so I’ll throw Suzanne Collins in there as well. I love Ted Dekker and Stephen Lawhead. I love Cornelia Funke and Jenny B. Jones. I’ve fallen in love with Jill Williamson’s stuff and my pal Jenny Lundquist is amazing as well. So many of the up and coming YA writers out there are fast earning their way onto this list.

Awesome choices!  How about favourite book?  (yes, you can say your own!)  My blog, I allow it!  Favourite movie?  Favourite TV show?

Book: Too hard! I’m going to go with the Count of Monte Cristo. It’s a classic and keeps me from having to decide between all the amazing books that have hit shelves more recently.

Movie: So many great movies out there! Of late, I’ve loved Les Miserables. I’ve always been fascinated with that story and they did such a fabulous job translating it to film. If we’re talking old school, I’ll say A Few Good Men. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!  Or, or, or Sense and Sensibility. Love that flick.

TV Show: This changes almost daily. I really like the dialogue in White Collar, so let’s say that one for now.

That was a tough question!  How about an easy one: are you someone who reads the same book more than once?

Of course! And YA books are great for that.

How did you come to know the Lord?

As the oldest daughter of a preacher, I’ve grown up in church. I think I was five years old when I asked my dad to pray with me. Mom had run into a Chinese restaurant to pick up take-out after church on a Sunday and we were waiting outside in our old silver Citation. I can only assume something my teacher said in Sunday school prompted the conversation, but there you have it.

Do you have a favourite Bible verse?

Several. I love the gospels and the book of Daniel especially. On the bulletin board next to my desk I have this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.—Proverbs 3:5

If memory serves, part of that verse made its way into Angel Eyes.

That is one of my favourite verses too!  Such wonderful assurance.  Who in your life has influenced you most, besides God?

My parents, certainly. But I’ll also say my husband, Matt. All three of them have very deep, very profound relationships with God and I learn so much by watching them. My husband has been such an instrumental part of the writing process for me. He listens while I talk through my ideas, he answers questions about Scripture, and he lets me complain when I need to. He really is the best.

Name 5 things you can’t live without!  (Faith and Family are a given)

I’ve been floundering a little bit cause I had to go off caffeine. If not, I’d have said Pepsi and Coffee were #1 and #2. Hmmm. Let’s see.

~Panera’s Mac and Cheese

~My Kindle

~Matt’s oversized fleece jacket. I wear it every morning when I take the kids to school.

~My local Barnes and Noble

~Rhapsody

You’ll have to tell me how you managed to get off Pepsi!  (a craving of mine!)  When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was really young I wanted to be an astronaut! But I suck at math so that got thrown out the window. I spent a lot of years wanting to be an actress and pursuing that. I still love the stage. So many great memories.

I am terrible at math too!  Last one, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Well, I’d say the Holy Land, but things are a bit volatile these days. I’ve done Hawaii a few times and I could definitely do that right now. Winter is wearing on me (and I shouldn’t whine, I’m in California). Maybe Jamaica? My husband is a coffee roaster and he’d like to go on an origins trip there. I’d like to sit on the beach with a good book, so that would work for both of us!

Thanks again Shannon for answering all my questions!  You rock!  I so thoroughly enjoyed Angel Eyes and Broken Wings that I can’t wait for Dark Halo!

Angel EyesBroken Wings Dark-Halo

If you want to get your hands on Shannon’s books, click the book image above! Also, you can click Shannon’s image above to get to her website!

Remember to come back on Saturday for my review and more questions with Shannon about Broken Wings!!

~Sarah

Creating… and after that…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seyyed_mostafa_zamani/If you’ve been following this blog for sometime, you know that I’ve been working on a novel.  I’ve put together many stories in my years (I’m not that old!) but they were always 10 pages, 32 page, 88 pages… you get the point.  I never completed them.  They were outlets for how I was feeling on whatever day I wrote them.  So, they are disjointed and tend to leap about in emotion.  As an emotional reader I know that the torrent of feelings would leave readers feeling whiplashed!  Hence the reason they will sit unfinished.  A monument to hours and years of practice.

All leading to this day….

Okay, in all fairness ‘this day’ actually occurred on December 22nd but you know how those days around Christmas can be.

On December 22nd, I wrote the epilogue to my book and was able to finally type the words ‘The End‘.  I have a beginning, a middle AND an end!  A childhood dream… realized!

What a wonderful feeling.  A sensational feeling.  A flying feeling.  A sense of sunshine and warmth.

Followed closely by a deep sigh and a bitter-sweetness like honey with a bite of lemon.  For now, this creation part is mostly complete and I already kind of miss it.

Creation is only just the first part of the process and I’ve already begun to delve into the deliciousness of editing.  I am hopeful that down the road, my book may be available to a larger audience.  For now though, I’m working one step at a time and trying not to get too far ahead of myself.  I’m enjoying the process so much!

Next will be to find an editor.  That part scares me… and yet thrills me.

Thank-you to you, my dear friends, who have offered me advice and encouragement (either on here, FB, Twitter or in person)!  Without you, the process would be no where near as fun!

Wish me luck!  (please?)

~Sarah

The stunning photo above comes from http://www.flickr.com/photos/seyyed_mostafa_zamani/