You know, writing is a lot like being out of work.
No, seriously, bear with me on this…
In talking to a friend the other day about her husband’s lack of job, I asked if he had considered volunteer work. When she said no, it hit me…(no she didn’t hit me, she’s a very good friend and knows I am looking out for them when I ask these sort of forward questions).
When you Write (with a capital W) you spend your time churning out the word count, making dramatic forays into plots heretofore unexplored, developing characters that will impact not only your story but the world that reads about them…and when you write you are struggling for every word and doubting everything you put down.
BUT I’m here to tell you, there isn’t a lot of difference between the two.
Ok, so back to the job analogy. You’ve lost your job or your drive to write…now you get right back out there because you are a brave little toaster and you work to find a new job (aka the next great idea or plot twist). BUT all you are doing is looking, you aren’t putting anything on that resume, you aren’t keeping your hand in, you aren’t keeping up with the latest developments…AND you feel justified, because you don’t think you CAN take time out to do those things.
You spend your time trying to come up with the next paragraph when a sentence will do. You spend your time struggling for character development when a bit of dialogue will get you on the road.
You spend your time angsting over the plot, when you just need to get your butt in the chair and write anything.
Anything is better than nothing.
Now, I’m not saying you need to keep this “part-time” job when you get offered a “full-time” job. Then again, it’s some extra scratch you didn’t have before, now isn’t it? And who knows, perhaps having this thing on the side might blossom into something amazing later…
So today, instead of looking for that career making plot or character, just write one sentence, just one paragraph, answer just one question, come up with just one scene…just do something to keep your hand in.
Good luck, and peace out,
P.S. Got a new phone!!!! I love new gadgets!
One of my friends has a t-shirt that shows a student standing with his professor in front of a blackboard covered with a complicated equation. Between the problem and the solution there is a space where the student has written, “Then a miracle occurs”.
That’s how I feel when I write. I often know the beginning and the ending but it’s the middle that gets me bogged down and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the miracle is that is going to hook them together.
It’s a common problem with fledgling writers, more popularly referred to as “Second Act Problems”. It is the most common reason for rejection among new writers that have been contacted for partials. I love the idea that I can make it through the first round of reviews, I can get a request for a partial, I can turn it in and guess what…my weakest part is likely going to be the thing they focus on AND the reason they pass on my novel. No pressure. ARGH! But hey, at least I’ve got some good company (namely a lot of you out there)…not that it makes it any easier to deal with.
Still, there are times when I can pull it off and this past week I did just that. “In Harm’s Way” ground to a halt when I hit that middle point last year during NANOWRIMO, but I didn’t have time to stop. I skipped ahead and wrote the ending, but that gap came back to haunt me when I got the ending done. So, from January to nearly May I agonized over it until I just decided to throw something down so I could call it done. Now a year later (and 5 chapters into editing and another novel under my belt) it all comes together.
I looked at “In Harm’s Way” and thought about something a friend at the writing group had mentioned. That was all it took and suddenly the knot that had been snarling up the works smoothed itself out. I’m not saying it’s totally fixed, I’m not saying it’s written, I’m just saying I can see the glowing thread stretching from me to the ending and I am pretty sure I can follow it.
I love that feeling when a plot clicks. It’s the best feeling in the world to see how it’s all going to come together and to know that you’ve got control of it. This is why I write, this is what I strive for when I put pen to paper…that ah-ha moment.
Find your peace, hopefully it will contain some ah-ha’s, and live it,