The Enemies of Our Progress, Part One

For the next few posts, I want to talk about a subject that’s always in my mind – the enemies of our progress. It doesn’t matter how much you love to write, or how talented you are, there are certain enemies we all share, enemies that slow us down or even bring us to a halt altogether. Sometimes talking about the enemy is enough to get our brains charged and our typing hands moving again. So I thought I’d spend some time bringing those enemies out into the open, expose them for what they are, in the hope that we all benefit. Today I want to talk about waiting for inspiration.

I don’t know about you, but once upon a time I believed that writers lived in shadowed garrets, drinking wine and staring at blank pages until, at last, the muse deigned to reward the writer’s patience with An Idea. […]

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When life attacks

I had a different blog planned about finding a story idea, something I will do next time. But I had life attack and I thought it worth talking about. Life has been interfering with my writing for a couple of years now. Specifically, I worked in a very toxic environment at my old job, where bullying and illegal harassment were not uncommon, and the campus leadership did little or nothing to correct that, instead, often exacerbated the problem. My husband lost his job and could not find work locally, so we ecided it would be a good time for us to break out of the bad and into the good. It took two years to make that happen and during that time, i lived a year without him, while he worked elsewhere and I worked and was single-mom. We always knew it was for our future, but it was hard.

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My Writer’s Block Rant

(Please note that I’ll be away from my computer and won’t be able to respond to comments. I’ll trust my fellow MWers to comment on my behalf.)

The other day I gave a talk at a local book fair. The talk was on point of view and also touched on character, voice, narrative, etc. I read passages from several of my books including Rules of Ascension, Robin Hood, the new Thieftaker book, and my as-yet-unpublished urban fantasy, and then picked each passage apart explaining why I used that particular point of view character and that particular voice.

The talk was well-received, and the Q and A that followed was lively and interesting. Naturally, the questions quickly turned to the types of “How-do-I-get-started?” and “How-do-I-finish-my-book?” questions that we try to answer here at MW on a daily basis. And that was fine, too.

But eventually, during a discussion with one […]

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The Internal Paralyzer

As most writers do, I read quite a lot, even when I’m writing. Usually it’s the best way for me to know what’s happening in the industry: which trends are burgeoning and which are dying, who’s changing genres, that sort of thing. Not to mention I simply love losing myself in someone else’s world for a little while. Reading also lets the writer know what’s already been done, and doesn’t need repeating.

All of us want to write original stories that thrill the reader, full of gripping adventure and sparkling wit. Notice I said “original”. No one wants to read a review of their own work that says, “Pansy Prosescribbler’s work was good, but she was clearly borrowing the magic baby subplot right out of Neville Novelwriter’s classic quest fantasies of the 1970’s.” We struggle to make our stories unique, but sometimes we end up repeating something someone else has […]

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The Downward Side of a Huge Sigh

The last week was incredibly stressful. When school ends, the library has to be in a certain state of order. This isn’t just convincing students and teachers to return their borrowed materials, but putting every single item in our 13K item collection in its proper place, inventorying the whole thing and then searching for the things we couldn’t account for to begin with, sending out notices to students who have lost books and not made good for them and dealing with parents who think we’re somehow targetting their precious babies unjustly. It all adds up to complete exhaustion and snappy attitude. Stress is such a problem that I try my best to clear my soul of it. I usuallly have a massage at least once a month to help keep myself blanced, and I meditate whenever I can. Exercise and dance do wonders for stress reduction as well. But the […]

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Pink Elephants, and Rivers, and Gilligan, Oh MY! (And Writing)

Last week, Christina spoke about dry spells in the area of idea creation: Some writers say that ideas are just overflowing with them. I’m not one of them. I go through serious dry spells on ideas. And when I do, I try to read other things or watch TV shows to bring them to me. But this week it hasn’t worked. I’m still waiting for my plot to percolate.

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The Drainage Ditch of Writing

David had a tough week, last week. Hugs, David. It’s been a difficult time for me too, though not as bad as David’s, and for totally different reasons. No one died, no one came through a deadly event and miraculously lived. Unlike David, I’ve never lost a close loved one, except grandparents, and some of those were a guilty, knife-edged relief. I’ve lost and grieved for dogs, but that isn’t the same, no matter much I loved them, no matter how much I grieved and still grieve. No matter how often I look out back at the river stones that mark Delta’s grave. She wasn’t a mother or a child or a lover and I do know the difference. But my week has been difficult anyway, actually the last eight months have been physically hard – thorny and complicated, and it’s changed the way I write, the way I feel […]

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