Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Five: Keep Writing

I go through a lot of writing ups and downs. When my life gets crazy, I don't feel like I have anything left to give a manuscript. Last month was an especial struggle for me. I felt stuck on revisions, rewriting and revisiting old material. But I feel like I'm finally coming out the other side thanks for a few tried and true tricks to overcoming writer's block.
  1. Turn to a new project. You know that saying about beating a dead horse? Well, writing's a little like that as well. But sometimes, if I move on to something different for a time, I can come back to the original project with fresh eyes.
  2. Write something, anything. I love watching words fill up a page--a physical manifestation that I can create something good. And if I'm not watching my own words fill up a page, at least I can watch the words of some else fill it up. Usually, within a couple of seconds of transcribing a song or story I love, I've jump-started my own writing.
  3. Ask someone for help. I'm a very independent person, so going to someone for help doesn't come naturally to me. But the more I write, the more I realize how little I know. So I ask for a little help from my friends. My writers' (support) group is a wonderful resource that I often turn to to talk over what's going on in my life and what I can change to make the writing process work better. I also have very supportive friends and family who help me when I'm down.
  4. Don't make excuses. I like to say "Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?" But if I actually live by that creed, a lot of tomorrows come and go before anything gets written. So I make sure not a day goes by that I don't write something new (not revise something old), even if it's just one line in the notebook I carry in my purse.
  5. Keep the goal in sight. My goal isn't just to finish a novel or to get publish, although these are both some superficial goals I have with writing. Really, words connect me--to other people, to the characters on the page, to something bigger than all of that. My goal is to express through a story those emotions that I can't quiet express for myself. Seeing a character deal with those emotions make it a little easier to accept them within myself.
Through sacrificing time, sleep, a personal life, I discover a little part of myself with each word I put on paper. So maybe my laundry doesn't get folded right away or I eat veggies from a can because I can't get to the store or I have to pull my hair up because it's too long to use the flatiron on. Writing is who I am, and as I fill up myself, everything else falls into place.

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