Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Challenge That Is Writing

Writing isn’t easy. Well, I should clarify that – Good writing isn’t easy. Anybody can throw words on a page, but that won’t make it readable, and it won’t necessarily move you. Good writing grabs you, and if it’s good fiction, it takes you to another place, and puts you in the shoes of another character. I think non-fiction can be even harder to keep a person’s interest. Trying to express ideas or thoughts to complete strangers with only words is a very daunting task.

I am currently in the process of writing both a fiction, and a non-fiction book. I say process because it truly is, or at least can be, quite an ordeal.

When I first started my novel, I was overloaded with great ideas. Plots and storylines just whirled about me for days. I would wake up with “a-ha!” moments, and have to jot down the thought before I lost it. But then – reality hit. I started writing, and it went very smoothly at first. Chapters flowed into chapters. And then one day it just stopped. I don’t know if “life happened” and interrupted the flow, or what the situation may have been, but the need to write seemed to have vanished.

Part of my problem is that yes, I had all those great ideas, but flushing them out in a novel is a monumental task. It doesn’t help that I’m completely OCD, and edit the crap out of everything I write, as I write it. I can’t outline. Well, I’m sure I could, but I hate even the idea of it. To me, it ruins the joy of writing. I like to see where the characters and the story will take me. Unfortunately, I’m at a point where all the characters are apparently giving me the silent treatment.

I think that will be my new motto:

“I don’t have writer’s block – my characters aren’t talking to me anymore.”

I’ve heard of several authors that write for a certain period of time, or a predetermined number of pages every day, no matter what. And I say hoorah for them. I can’t do it. I have to be motivated. I have to be “in the mood” to write. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to get into that mood at the drop of a hat.

I’d be interested to hear from other writers as to their techniques to get motivated to write, if there is such a thing. Is there such a thing?

1 comment:

  1. One of the exercises I remember from writing class had to do with stream of consciousness writing. The bit I remembered when reading your post was to write the same word over and over and over again until your stream of consciousness caught up with your pen and you were off and running again. Maybe stream of consciousness writing would help with that "write 15 minutes every day" thing?

    I know in my art, when I wait for the inspiration to hit or until I'm "in the mood" I find I don't even look at my clay until a deadline starts looming. I have all sorts of wonderful ideas, but by the time I get home with them I'm "too tired" or "have to do this first" and it just doesn't happen.

    My solution right now is to create deadlines, like the craft fair I'm participating in February 13th. Not sure how you'd go about doing that, but it might help to create a few deadlines for yourself. Maybe to have a new chapter done by the end of the month, like you did with the whole book by the end of the year.