Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Friendly Nudges

Let's face it...most of the time writing is a lonely business but it honestly doesn't have to be that way. Yes, the story you are writing is in YOUR head and a thing of YOUR imagination but there is no reason why we have to suffer alone. Like most of you, I've gone through barren periods when I'm feeling bone-dry of ideas and frustrated with a story that seems to be going nowhere.

I know a lot of writers turn to groups like RWA and yes, they have their place, but in the day to day experience of trudging through a story and struggling to finish that work in progress nothing is better than counting on friends to pull you through.

My latest work in progress is actually going pretty smoothly. Working on the third in a shifter series I'm doing for Ellora's Cave. The story has pretty much unfolded in my head. I've developed my characters and their motivations for behaving as they do but lately, I've had days that I just DON'T want to DO THIS. Yep. Laziness. Someone needs to chain my butt to the chair and keep me supplied with coffee so I can finish it up. I'm sooooo close.

Over the weekend I did a little writing challenge with a writer friend. Mano e Mano or it that Chica e Chica? She needed motivating in the worst way and so did I. I was game to do anything to keep my motor revved. We got on-line Saturday morning and told each other how many pages we hoped to write that day and then every few hours (during breaks) we'd check in with each other. Worked like a charm for us! Late that night, we even sent each other little scenes we'd done. It turned out to be so fun, we decided to do a 'challenge' on Sunday too. Personally, I finished up a chapter, headed into another, wrote a smoldering hot sex scene, and ended the weekend with a super duper feeling of accomplishment. I know for a fact, my friend felt the same way. She saw great progress and ended the weekend re-charged and ready to continue on.

I also work with a small critique group involving two other Ellora's Cave writers. Both are talented, fun, and great friends. We have a very unstructured deal going on. We send scenes back and forth (at any random time because we are random, free wheeling gals) and just check each other on small issues like....does this dialogue sound natural? Is my hero a total ass here? Or just a....sooooo, this is what I came up with today!

Guess my point is, we all have to do whatever works for us. I tend to like a more relaxed thing. Life is FULL of pressure! In the end, it's up to us to find ways to stay motivated and writing. Some may need a more structured type of writing nudge but this works for me.

18 comments:

Taylor Tryst said...

Isn't that what friends are for? lol

Yes, I admit it. I was the 'challenge' partner, and let me tell you people, it worked like a charm.

I was more productive this previous weekend then I've been since the injury to my back.
It was fun, kept us both motivated, and we shared scenes/chapters with each other at the end of the night, which was such a treat. Not only did we get something done, but we were able to share what we each did and who doesn't love that!

Even if we aren't 'challenging' each other, it was suggested by another dear writer friend that I check-in with my goal on a regular basis and report at the end of the day. Guess what, that is working too.

Something to be said for simply stating a goal out loud to friends/writers, and having to keep that goal... I just might get done with this vamp book yet!

Hugs,
TT

Regina Carlysle said...

Whatever works, ya know? It was fun and during those times when we just need a little extra push, it's sooo good to have friends in your corner. I felt GREAT being so productive.

Anny Cook said...

Nudges are often all we need, but challenges are so much fun.

Kelley Nyrae said...

I love having little challenges with my friends or having friends to check in with. I think it can really help to motivate you.

Julia Barrett said...

I think writing buddies are great! I don't have anyone around, but I know that if I'm really stuck, I can ask you all for help and encouragement. I think I get stuck when the rest of my world is crazy - not my book world!

Regina Carlysle said...

I know what you mean, Julia! Right now I'm looking at a house that MUST be CLEANED. Would love to be magical and just MAJICK it done! Yeah, you ever need a challenge, drop me a line. It's amazing how many of us struggle with it and on-line friends can help so much.

Regina Carlysle said...

That reminds me, Anny, ya finishing that WIP this week??? Nudge nudge.

Mary Ricksen said...

The support of your crit partners is the best resource there is!

Amy Ruttan said...

I do write ins all the time.

It's a great way to stay motivated.

Regina Carlysle said...

I completely agree. We don't have to have large groups either. What works best for me is a really small number 1-3 other writers.

Anne Rainey said...

I've been in a strange slump lately. I can't seem to knock myself out of it either. Hate that.

Mona Risk said...

Slump is the word that applies to me too. I look at my WIP, change the first paragraph , then the last of the first scene, and do that everyday again and again. My brain is frozen. A nudge won't help. A kick won't help. I critique for my CPs but have nothing to send them.

Ava Rose Johnson said...

I go through slumps from time to time, sometimes they can last for a couple of months and I slowly start to lose my mind.

It's hard to stay motivated, especially when other things like the day job, family, etc. get in the way. Having a couple of people to report to sounds like a great way to keep going. Like you, I like things to be relaxed. Writing should be fun, IMO anyway!

J.K. Coi said...

LOL, you did great! Much better than I did. I managed to stay offline (most of the time), but too many "life" stuff got in the way of writing this weekend. With next weekend being Easter and the one after that involving another family get together for my niece's birthday, it looks like I'm going to have to work through a few late weeknights and be a lot more disciplined that I have to this point. :)

Regina Carlysle said...

I was wondering how you did, JK! Real life can just make your head start spinning sometimes!!! When that stuff happens all you can do is create your own time.

Sometimes keeping my ms. minimized works. I did that one day and by the end of the day I had four or five pages just from piddling around. It really surprised me.

Regina Carlysle said...

Mona, it sounds like you are doing a lot of self-editing. I used to do exactly what you're doing and the best way to break that habit is to read a couple of paragraphs before you start. Just a few. DO NOT EDIT OR CHANGE! Just pick up the thread and keep writing. Remind yourself that you can clean it up later. It's more important to just get it down otherwise it's like driving a car in quicksand. The wheels just spin but the car doesn't move.

Regina Carlysle said...

Ava, you are with a nice bunch of writers at Ellora's Cave. I'm guessing there would be a good list of people to choose from. You'll find other writers all the time who are in the same position and need encouragement too.

Nicole North said...

This sounds like what I need to do. I need more motivation sometimes! Thanks for sharing!