Writer’s Inspiration Boost

 Literature Blogs

I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking of how to connect two main characters in one of my novels (besides the obvious conflicts). I need (want) them to be interconnected, but I can’t brainstorm how they do. It’s been a struggle on my poor brain. I think about them, wander away, sometimes for a couple months, then come back to think some more. I keep wondering why it’s not working, or if I should just trash one character or perhaps the entire story. (It’s not really writer’s block. Although, I admit, I don’t know what that is besides an excuse.) However, the problem makes me wonder about various ways to boost inspiration and imagination and creativity.

1) Eat well, sleep well, get exercise, see your doctor. Being pain-free, and having blood moving swiftly through your body and into your little grey cells, can only help stimulate writing thoughts and get those creative juices flowing. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I take a LONG walk. This does three things for me: unfreezes my stiffened muscles from sitting hours in one position at my computer; distracts me with neighborhood happenings; and releases some built up story-making-adreneline to free my mind to think more clearly.

2) Get off of drugs which make your brain sluggish. (Talk with your doctor about this one.)

3) Get onto drugs, which make your brain a wilderness to explore. (A Federal Marshall I know who is a mystery writer solves his writer’s block or plot problems by “sitting down with Jack” (a bottle of Jack Daniels) until he comes up with a solution in his plot. Personally, I think this way would turn my mind to mush, so it’s not something I recommend; just something I know works for one crazed writer.)

4) Find writing support. Join a writing organization and participate. You can also find writing support by taking a class or by reading books on craft. Three of my favorite ones include ON WRITING, THE FIRST FIVE PAGES, and NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS: UNCOMMON WAYS TO REVISE. In the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of SCBWI bulletin, Kate Dopirak writes about forming her “writing team” in a classroom of middle school kids. A self-published author I know uses his “editors,” who are six beta readers, including librarians and teachers. There are unlimited writing support groups on-line (critique groups, forums, listservs, blogs, etc). It can be done live (critique groups, writing conferences, going to hear visiting authors, local write-ins, etc.). 5) Step back from the story. Maybe start another one. But then come back to your original story, knead out those bumps, and become an award-winning author.

What additional ways do you have to boost your writing?

NaNoWriMo Starts Next Week/ Next Month

 Literature Blogs

I know several people who will be participating this year in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month). It is a great writing challenge and discipline. I’ve known about this group since its second year, and now this will be my second year participating. (My user name there is SandyCarl, if anyone wants to buddy me. Don’t forget to send me your UN as well, because it doesn’t automatically reciprocate.)

Last year I was more prepared for it, doing lots of research ahead of time. However, this year, particularly this month, I was working on finishing up a WIP before NaNoWriMo started, so my writing focus has been on that project. I’m afraid my head is still there in those revisions. I hope I can compartmentalize enough to work on two projects at once. I used to do this freely — work on two or more writing projects at once. I would switch when I got bored, or hit a plot block, etc. Lately, though, I’ve been focusing on getting one story ready to completion for submission before working on another.

Does anyone else work on more than one project at a time? Do you find it helpful or distracting? I’ve done it both ways. I’m sure either is a better way. Just keep on writing (and revising and submitting).

Good luck to all NaNoWriMo-ers! On your marks… Get set…

Library Rejection and Writers Block

Literature Blogs

It’s sad enough when we writers get rejections from editors and agents, but what a big ouchie when we get it from our own public library.
I loved Hope Vestergaard’s FaceBook library write-in post — she is an Ann Arbor, Michigan, children’s author. She was very excited about the event.
I’ve volunteered to do things (programs for kids) in libraries in three states where I’ve lived. The programs have not only been well attended, the librarians have been enthusiastically grateful. I liked this write-in idea so much that I called and suggested we do it here at OUR library in town. I’ve met the children’s librarian here, and thought that her contact would be a great starting place. After all, we writers know it’s all about networking.
She called me back, after talking to other staff, and said no, because “kids would think it’s too much like school, and it wouldn’t work because of funding (needing a library staff member present).” I said I’d be there, volunteering and leading, and as a former elementary teacher, I know that kids love to write. She said, no, again.
I love to write, and love to encourage others to write, too. I simply didn’t want to leave it at that, which is quite against my personality. I’d consider myself more whimpy than pushy, but when it comes to writing, call me passionate.
I asked her to keep open-minded about it for some future date.
Knowing there are a couple hundred NaNoWriMo participants in our area, both in schools and otherwise (she hadn’t heard of NaNoWriMo), I tried a different approach. I suggested that November might be a great time for adults to gather. She said the person in charge of adult programing said no, too. I guess no from this library means “no; go away; don’t bother us any more.”
(Flashback to six years ago when we moved here. I asked the librarian at the desk if there was a place where a writers group could meet, and was told “no” then, too. Back in SD, our Black Hills Writers Group met monthly at the public library. It was a helpful and meaningful time. I wanted to share the goodness. So far, here in my town, I’ve failed.)
Well… there. Done Steaming off.
Sad Sandy
P.S. I wonder if I am burning library bridges by writing this here. On the other hand, is there even a bridge to be burned?
P.P.S. Maybe I should add here that I’m not yet my normal self right now –> Stupid medication for poison ivy!
P.P.P.S. Back to writing.