Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Writing on the Wall

Why do I write? Because not writing isn't an option. I've tried so I can honestly say that I know this to be true. I went four years not writing and what resulted was constant inattention to real life.

I'd phase out in a conversation because a "what if" scenario reared it's head. (Say Suzie-Q told me there was an accident on the bridge to work. I'd be thinking about the secret top agent who'd shot the driver in order to steal government secrets and how the news would cover it up tonight as a traffic incident.) I'd forget names in an introduction within seconds. I'd drive to and from work and not remember the drive because I was day dreaming through a complicated plot or problem. I had several near accidents while driving.

But the most disturbing had to be the smudging of the line between reality and fiction.

What do I mean by this. Well, I got to the point where the people in my head had become so real to me that I would share anecdotes about them to my true life friends then belatedly realize what I was doing. At that point, I dusted off my hands and started typing. Cause buddies, that's messed up.

Keeping motivated isn't generally a problem with a plot which has you in its thrall. I've had a little trouble with a book on deadline because the clock is ticking instead of the creative urge. I prefer letting the characters take over. Let's face it. They don't take over every single day. But on deadline, you have to push them.

Sure you wind up with bad spots, but you delete those and rework on the days where they do come out to play. Honestly, I find that pushing them makes my characters speak up. ("Hey, I'd never do something that stupid.") Then the plot takes off.

Basically though, motivation is about finding the flow. Ever notice that writing isn't a chore when it moves freely? Then the words can't pour out of you fast enough! But hit a dry moment and the chasm between here and the end is immense. At those times you discipline yourself to take hold of the situation and just write.

For the most part, it works. I've had some stuff released now. Not like Anny, Cindy, Rita, or James, but stuff. I've had one mediocre review and the rest were great. I have a few ratings on Fictionwise I'm not thrilled about, but you can't please everyone. It doesn't matter. Ultimately whether you write or not is in your blood.

If you can't NOT write then a review is merely a temporary stone on your path to the next book.

Sure we want everyone to love us. But realistically that ain't gonna happen. Do you love your work? Then that's all that matters. You'll find your niche. You fans will find you and as long as you keep typing and staying sane, who the heck cares?


  1. Oh, yes the voices must be set free, lol.

    As for the meh review and the so so ratings on fictionwise
    (of which I have none, so so or otherwise I might add. :D ), you can't please all the people all of the time. :D Like you said, as long as the writing makes you happy, that is all that really matters. :D

    Excellent post.

  2. Thank you James. As soon as I have a few days together, your book is on my reading list. Then I will post post post your wonderfulness on fictionwise. Amazon too, if you're up then.

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  4. Aw, I surely appreciate that, Kelly. :D It is up on Amazon, but it seems to be way down on the ol' search list. Let me know and I can send you a direct link. :D

  5. Ah yes... the days when the characters are too busy with their lives to talk to us. Argh. To bad we can get our timing worked out!

  6. and if mediocre is the worst you get, then you're doing pretty good! Don't you hate it when you forget that not everyone knows your characters and start talking about them as if they're real?

  7. LOL, yeah, Cindy! I've done that so many times then have to back up and clarify.

    James, I'll look you up. No worries. It'll be after Proposal is finished and we're moved in, so a couple of months at least. I want to offer accurate insight even though your excerpts are perfect. I'm very excited to get busy and read.

  8. Lori Foster has T-shirts in her Cafe Press store. "I get paid to talk to the voices in my head." and "I know the voices in my head aren't real but they sure have some great ideas." Yep, have both and love wearing them. That way people are warned before I talk about my imaginary friends' lives.

  9. I'll have to get one of those shirts:) I'm glad I'm not the only one who stares into space when a new idea starts to spin!

    And yes, when the urge to write is too great, one must give into the urge or burst! I once wrote non-stop for two weeks...and then had to decipher the handwriting and type it into something legible.

  10. And this is the only kind of forum where we ALL UNDERSTAND this brand of insanity. Ain't it great?

  11. Well, honey, I've been insane for YEARS because of those voices in my head. They never shut the hell up! So...I write and write and yes, I get writers block BIG TIME. Matter of fact, just wrestled with a big bout of if and Anny talked me down from the cliff. Finishing that ms. was pure cause for celebration. Yeah, it's a little frustrating sometimes but OMG is it worth it. And not for just the work but for the friends I've made through doing what I love. Ain't life GREAT???

  12. LOL! What a coincidence. I wrote a book review on my blog two days ago.. the book with the same title as the title of your post here ! It is written by one James Goodman

    I cannot agree more with you. creativity cannot be forced. If it has to be, it becomes a technical job than a work of Art.

    I guess for a writer with deadlines, it must become quite a pain in the neck sometimes.