Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Book it, Danno!

Every writer has faced the blank page and despaired. White is an intimidating color if words are your passion. You need to get those pesky words down but lack the inspiration to do so. So...you let a day pass thinking that surely tomorrow you'll write. Tomorrow comes and that niggling doubt that you had pushed to the back of mind, creeps to the forefront and you find yourself looking at the same white page. Again.

You feel impotent. So you start filling your time with "other" engagements like the laundry or organizing your lifetime collection of dental floss. Whatever.

The time away from your computer lengthens and the voices in your mind quiet to the point of silence. Your muse jets off the Tahiti. One way ticket. First class.

What do you do? Well, I am here to tell you that unless you are under a contracted deadline--relax. Sometimes there's a reason why the creative juices dry up and little time away from the frustration of staring at that field of nothingness might be just what you need.

For me, a serious case of writer's block translates into a warning signal to take some time for me. Invariably this means I need to pick up a book--no, not a book on the craft of writing or the art of literary publicity--what I need is to do is immerse myself in another author's work. I need to remember why I write.

Lost in someone else's world, living with their characters, I remember my own (in a WIP) or ones that only whisper at the fringes of my imagination.

Today, I raise my virtual glass of OJ to toast Elizabeth Peters for her Amelia Peabody mystery series. I'm only halfway through the books but the one I finished last night reignited the flame of my writing desire. Why? She writes cozy mysteries, set in turn of the century Egypt no less. Not too much in common with modern day paranormal rom-com. Ahh, but you see her stories aren't about the mystery as much as the characters and how they handle the obstacles--personal and professional--thrown at them. In this book, one character failed her test pretty miserably. This character has recognized her mistake but the "growth" won't happen until the next book (which I don't have--arrgh!)

That spark made me realize in my next WIP (that is in the percolating stage) my own heroine is going to make the wrong choice--big time. I now know what the choice is---I just don't know how to fix...yet.

Hmm...maybe I need to read another book. Anybody know where the nearest B&N is?


Read to Write.



  1. Hi, my post is about reading to break writer's block too, but I'm talking about writers' digest "craft/ helpful hint" kinds of books.
    I agree with you about reading. Sometimes we all need to recharge our creative energies. :)

  2. I am so doing that right now. I'm on a Sherrilyn Kenyon/Julia Quinn/Gena Showalter kick, alternating between sexy Darkhunters, Regency rogues and hunky demon warriors. Odd mix, I know. But it's revamped my love of a good book I can't put down --and inspired me to try to write one as good as theirs. If that's even possible. *G*

  3. I'm reading a fantasy novel that has an awesome magical system. I wish it were more inspiring, but really, I just want to READ it :)

  4. Yup, most writers were readers first. Sometimes it helps to get back to basics. And Brenda those craft books really do work in many cases...just not mine.



  5. Lori, I don't doubt you can write a book just as well as the authors you've mentioned.

    Sherrilyn is one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet. You just want to hug her big time. Julia is a love--warm,funny, and very down to earth. I cried when I met her...okay, I pretty much sobbed all over her. I admit that I don't have the voice or the desire to write regency but it was her books that helped turned my "I hate reading kid" into an "I LOVE reading kid." So to me, Julia will always be an angel to me. And Gena...she is a nut (and I mean that in the BEST possible way). She has the KEWLEST friend (in PC Cast) and my dream agent (in Deidre Knight). She is also extremely driven.

    You've picked some big shoes to fill, kiddo. Go for it.


  6. Oh my, Peabody is still at it? I remember reading the first Amelia Peabody book, Crocodile on the Sandbank ages ago.

    If anything can cure writer's block it's Peabody :)


  7. Talia

    I've met both Sherrilyn and Julia. You're spot on about both of them. Sherri is a hoot (I could listen to her tell her life stories for hours) and I sang karaoke in a bar with Julie at a conference once. Okay, she sang (she's got a lovely voice), I hummed along. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Gena, but I hope to someday.

    Oh, and I'll probably never write a Regency myself. Too many rules to remember. But I love reading them.

  8. I met Sherrilyn Kenyon at RWA nationals in 2007. I decided I wanted to be her when I "grew up." She was gracious to her fans and spent time with everyone in the lines at the literacy signing (even staying way late to get to everyone). Then the next day, her speech to the PRO retreat was inspiring and moving. I was SO impressed.

    On top of all that, she writes good. You just can't beat the combination.


  9. Thought-provoking suggestions , I was fascinated by the info . Does anyone know if I would be able to get a fillable SSA-3368-BK version to complete ?