Friday, January 9, 2009

Badass Blocks and I'm not Talking Football

Can you tell I just watched a football game? Yeah, the big one. Not all that exciting as far as "big games" go. Very defensive. Sorry, I'm rambling. After Anne's funny as hell post yesterday, I figure there's no way to top that so I'm not even going to try. Maybe my brain is numb from the busy week I've had. Just finished a manuscript, got it to my editor and I'm head over heels deep in another that should be completed this weekend so I've been busier than normal.

That wasn't always the case. Last fall, I had an enormous case of Badass Writer's Block. I couldn't think, couldn't write. I was just blah. I suspect I suffered a bit of burn out and I finally gave up and just cut myself some slack. Sometimes we have to do that. Now that the holidays are good and over, I'm back up to speed again. So I guess the bottom line is, blockage doesn't last forever.

Lately I've noticed the loops I play on have been pretty dead and since most of these are writers hang outs, I'm thinking positively and hoping that everyone else is writing, too. Several friends have been going through writers' block and one wrote yesterday to say...YESSSSS, she's finished her manuscript. The first one she's completed in months. I was thrilled for her because it just feels so damn good to get another under your belt after weeks of struggling to get your brain to function.

Wish I had some really good advice for this except to say it happens to all of us at some point. One friend has several WIPS at a time. If she's blocked on one, she simply opens another file and sees if another story/change might work for her. Sounds like a good plan. Much better than mine which is to email everyone I know, shop for shoes or books on the internet, or play solitaire. Um. Not a good method. Others exercise. Okay. That's not for me either unfortunately, considering the size of my butt these days.

One day, I'm certain I'll come up with a neat little trick to jump start a lagging manuscript. I'm optimistic. For now, I'm just happy I'm done with it for awhile and I'm on the road to recovering from my major case of 'brain drain'.

On a personal note: Just learned that two of my stories will be released in seperate print anthologies by Ellora's Cave sometime this spring. Tempting Turquoise includes Amy Ruttan, Elaine Lowe and myself. The other, Torrid Topaz, features Lolita Lopez, Shawn Lane, Kate Willoughby and myself. No definite date yet but I was very surprised and pleased by the news. Not a bad way to end the week.


Anne Rainey said...

I think the only thing that really helps me to get through writer's block is to write an outline or synopsis before I write the story. It helps keep me on track.


Anny Cook said...

Or do a little "jumpstart" piece... something new and wild.

Kelley Nyrae said...

I give myself a little break or just make myself plug through. My editor always says crap can be fixed so if I just make myself write, I might have to totally rework that section later but it usually gets me going again.

Regina Carlysle said...

Those are some really good ideas. I actually DID yours Anny and ended up writing Feral Moon.

Regina Carlysle said...

Ah Anne you are sooo disciplined, aren't you? Me? Not so much. Gotta work on that. I understand that helps a lot though.

Regina Carlysle said...

A break is GOOD. I LIKE that idea. My problem is when the break lasts a month or more. LOL

Terry Spear said...

Great post, Regina! Yikes, Anne, writing an outline or synopsis would put me into a major block. LOL!!!

A ton of ways, but one I find helps me is to do some research. :) New ideas help me to write new angles. And also, reading other books helps me to get away from my story and then I feel more refreshed when I go back.

Anne Rainey said...

Regina--I'm NOT at all disciplined, which is why I need the synopsis, it helps me focus. I said it before, but for me having some sort of direction ahead of time is like having a list of items I need when I go to the store. Not having a list causes me to spend more and it takes twice as long.

Terry--Different strokes, I guess. It's clear my way is NOT for everyone. :)

Anonymous said...

When I get an attack of the dreaded Writer's Block, I force myself to get up very early in the morning, and while on my first cup of coffee, sit down at the computer.

There's no way I'm getting up at like 2 or 3 a.m. and not get something done, so I just start writing whatever comes into my mind. Sometimes it's a list of my problems. Sometimes it's a self-analysis on paper. Sometimes it's something that makes no sense whatever in any form.

But after 2 or 3 pages of 'junk'
the good stuff starts coming. I have no clue as to why. I guess it's just symbolism for the mental junk we sometimes carry around with us without knowing we have it.

Hope this helps some.

Take Care

Ayn Hunt

Tess MacKall said...

Congrats, Regina. My way of getting through writer's block is to wait it out. I've learned no amount of brow beating my muse helps. She just travels off to some far off place then.

Usually, the need to write returns when I am knee deep in another project and therefore become double booked, so to speak. lol

I've tried music, wine, switching to other wips, exercise, a change of scenery, surfing the net, chocolate, people-watching, you name it. But if that little sprite isn't ready, she isn't ready.

Lately, she has been very disciplined and I am impressed with her quite frankly. lol Now if she can just learn to make margaritas like they do at my fave restaurant, we'll settle in for the long winter and whip out some tasty treats!

Genella deGrey said...

Congrats on your EC stories! Kate Willoughby and I are former chapter mates - she's a doll! :)

I haven't had total writer's block yet - Knock on wood and wake the Faeries - but I get distracted by the internet way too easily.


Regina Carlysle said...

Sometimes just getting away and watching a cool movie or reading something helps, I think.

Regina Carlysle said...

You know, Anne, I'm thinking about trying it your way. Nothing detailed but just a little list, an idea about where I'm going.

Regina Carlysle said...

Hi Ayn. This is really smart. I've heard it's one of the reasons writers should have a blog. Being forced to write down SOMETHING (even if it's LAME) is better than nothing and can even get a writer jump started.

Regina Carlysle said...

Ah, Tessie! I think I can help you with the Margarita's LOL. Figures, huh??? 1 small can frozen limeade, 1 bottle of Corona beer, and fill the limeade can with triple sec. Mix. Drink and get plastered. HA.

Anne Rainey said...

That's exactly what I do. I don't sit down and write page after page or anything crazy like that. Just a sentence or two of what I want to see happen in each chapter. Even if I deviate, that 'list' is helpful!

And I realized that some publishers like the outline before the story. I didn't know that, until it was too late and I was left scrambling to put together an outline. Ack!

Regina Carlysle said...

Thanks Genella. I can't wait to meet Kate. I'm hoping she's planning to attend the EC ROmanticon in October.

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm terrible. I'll write a synopsis AFTER I've already written the story.

YEAH...just a line to two to say...then THIS happens.

Anne Rainey said...

Another thing just occurred to me as I was sitting here writing. Isn't it interesting how each of us has our own way of dealing with writer's block, or rather a writing lull?

I say if it works for you, then why mess with a good thing?! :)

Susan Macatee said...

Congrats on your releases! I usually have more than one project going at one time, so if I'm blocked on one, I switch to another. Another way I unblock myself is by reading a great story. Always gets me in the mood to get back to my own.

Regina Carlysle said...

Yeah, Susan,my friend Anny Cook does this too. I need to try it. At least you are still writing.

I know, Anne, kind of neat to see how everyone copes and how we shake ourselves out of a slump.

Linda LaRoque said...

Brainstorming with a friend helps me. Or, if I'm alone, daydreaming or perking as some call it. I've also got several works in progress and switching gears helps too.

Congratulations on your new releases! Know you are excited.