Stuck, Redux

Post-it notes

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I’ve been working on my WIP2 for two weeks now, and I’m having So. Much. Fun.

I do have a confluence of inspiration and motivation helping me out, thanks to conversations with my lovely writing friends*, and to life in general (remind me to tell you all about my introduction to resin one day).

Mostly, I’ve decided to slow down and really think about what I write. I have decided to give myself a hiatus from scribbling ANYthing down, including journaling in favor of taking the time to write out a scene and flesh it out as I write out my draft. I would sketch out a scene or a few scenes, and then go back over them again and again, and see how they read with the rest of the story so far, adding, deleting, and revising lines as I go.

Before, having the sketch of a scene was good enough and enabled me to move forward in the story. But, I inevitably get confused about next steps or where to go, and just skip ahead just so I can get to the end of the story. Which was a great confidence booster for WIP1: I made it to The End. Admittedly though, most of what I’d written had no value in the long term. The Hot Mess I’m left with would basically need to be rewritten.

Now, as I’m writing WIP2, I wait, think, and consider my writing as I write it out on the computer. I know that sounds elementary, but you have to understand. I’m a consummate scribbler. I’ve been writing notes and filling out journals for as long as I remember. Sometimes, I write whole scenes, and even once, a whole chapter, on index cards and sticky notes. Writing directly on the computer (I thought) was a death knell to my creativity.

Well, as I have discovered, being stuck and writing at a slower pace (and even waiting to write) does not lessen my creativity. I don’t have to be afraid of forgetting a cool idea or a cool thought. In fact, keeping the story in my head (for now) has helped me think it through one step at a time. I’m usually dying to get on my computer to write even a few words or pages, even after a really long day at work. (Who needs sleep? I’ve basically adopted Thomas Edison’s lifestyle of catnapping my way through a creativity bout.)

Not scribbling every little idea that comes to me while I’m away from the WIP has freed me to reread what I’ve written and expand on scenes, remember buried plot points, start new scenes, move things around. Basically, has made this draft’s beginning stronger than any other first draft I’ve written (and never finished). And, I don’t get discouraged when I’m “blocked” because when I reread what I’ve written, I can always find an idea or thought that I can expand on in a new scene, which feeds other new scenes.

So, I may not be chugging along as quickly as I normally do during moments of rough draft inspiration. But, so far, I’ve written more valuable words for much longer, and that’s worth more to me than phenomenal word counts.

Once I’m halfway through the story, in other words, once the story becomes too big to see all at once (as I can right now), I can see the need to jot down scene sequences Scrivener style to help keep it all straight.

For now, I’m enjoying this story-telling experience. Honestly, I’m still in awe that I’m adding to WIP2, and that it’s growing and evolving. Fingers crossed that I will finish this draft soon, and still look at it with this same loving glow.

I’ll leave you all with this motivating quote I found from Janet Reid aka, Query Shark:

“Writing can be learned.
Syntax can be taught.
Determination is yours and yours alone.”


*conversations including, but not limited to, Michele, Carol, Kayla, Melissa…thank you!

Confessions of a Consummate Scribbler

And What shall I Write

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I woke up this morning so proud of myself.

I listened to my body last night and went to bed at a decent hour.  I woke up feeling rested and without my too-familiar reading hangover.  I poured my cup of coffee and went straight to my computer, opening up my WIP to its current draft.  I read over my changes so far, and with a rush of ideas, started to attack the next scene.

Then, nothing.

After about a minute, the cursor spent more time standing still and blinking rather than trailing words behind it.  I turned on Pandora radio, and tuned to my trusty Disturbed station, hoping angry, discordant music would remind me of whatever it was I wanted to say.  Still nothing.

It wasn’t for lack of ideas.  After all, the rough draft for WIP1 is finished.  Sure, most of the words cobbled together barely pass for sentences, but at least the words are there waiting to be rewritten.  Yet, the internal ramblings that woke up with me this morning and prodded me to my computer just, well, stopped.

Finally, I started doodling on the notepad that I keep on my desk, humming along to some Linkin Park.  And, what started out as daisy chains on a yellow notepad became the scene that I dreamed about when I woke up.

Thinking about it, I shouldn’t be surprised.  I’ve always been a scribbler.  I’m never without at least a notepad; my Moleskine notebook is a constant fixture in my tote bag.  I wrote most of my rough draft by hand first, before my fingers were able to fly over the keyboard and flesh out most of my thoughts.

I just figured in this drafting stage, I would be able to just do the changes straight on the computer.  Clearly, my brain disagrees.  There’s just something about the blinking cursor that my muses do not enjoy and so render me wordless in its presence.

So, I’ve made peace with the idea that I will just scribble and type through this drafting stage as well.  Though it may seem like an extra step, at least it’s helping me move in the right direction: a finished draft for my beta readers.

So Tell Me: do YOU have any writing quirks? Surely, I can’t be the only one with a writing Monk-ism.