Tag Archives: frustration

Are You Burned Out?

It’s almost two weeks in. Are you burned out yet? If not, you will probably feel that way at some point during the month. Accept it and go on. It’s only a month. You can take a break at the end.

I have dealt with burn out quite often in my writing. Sometimes, taking a day or two off helps tremendously. It is important to remember that you can get through it. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Have your characters gotten so upset with you that they have quit talking to you? Does it seem like they have deserted you completely? Have a talk with them. Tell them you are not going to accept their attitude. You are in charge and they are not. Let them know you are not giving in to them. Cuss them out, if you want.

Perhaps it isn’t that they have quit talking to you. Perhaps you simply don’t really know who they are, what they like, what their dreams are. In this case, interviewing them might be your best bet. Ask them pointed questions. If the answers lead to more questions, ask them too. Get to know your characters.

Have you backed your characters into a corner because you just don’t feel like dealing with them? Maybe you didn’t do it on purpose, but it happened anyway. What to do? Where do you go from here?

There are three choices. First, you can go back and rewrite part of what you have already written to get past the problem. Second, you can go on and pretend you didn’t write yourself into a jam, and fix it later. This is what you may have to do if you are participating in NaNo. Remember, that first draft is supposed to be a mess.

The last thing you can do is use that as part of the story, and have the story take an unanticipated turn. You might be surprised at how much you like the new twist, if you choose this solution.

Of course, none of these are easy to do. That’s okay. Writing is not supposed to be easy. At least, good writing isn’t. You can write a bunch of nonsense fairly easily. The idea is not to tell a good story the first time. You might not even tell a good story the second time. It may take three or four times before you get it right, constantly tweeking as you go.

Be sure you take a break between the first and second draft, the second and third, etc. You will get burned out if you don’t.

What works for me may not work for you. We are all different. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you. Sometimes, our best ideas come that way.


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What to Say?

Well, here it is, time to write this blog again, and I have no idea what to say. The words have escaped me.

How do you write when you don’t know what to say? Isn’t that what every writer faces from time to time? It makes you wonder where your creativity has gone. At least, it does me.

The good news is that it’s there, somewhere. It is hiding in some dark corner of some darkened room deep within your mind. You might have to follow a maze to get there. Like any good maze, you feel lost and disoriented. How do you find your way out?

You don’t find your way out, You find your way in. The room is in the center of the maze, just waiting for you. Unlike Harry Potter, there are no deadly obstacles in your way. Nothing is going to reach out and grab you. All you have to do is continue on until you reach the center of the maze.

What’s that you ask? What if you find that dark corner within the dark room, only to find out it holds another maze? Go with it. Sooner or later, you will find that inspiration at the end of the maze. All you have to do is refuse to give up.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s not that easy. There are distractions. False turns. Dead ends. The need to sleep. The need to eat. The need to go to the bathroom.

That’s okay. No one is saying not to take care of yourself. Do whatever is necessary to maintain your well-being. Just don’t give up on that story. It’s waiting for you.

So, how did I write this much when I didn’t know what to say? I went with it. I took it where it lead me. This time, it worked. Next time, it might not.

Anyway, it is time for me to log off here and get back to my novel. It isn’t going to edit itself.

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Throw the Mailman Out the Window

Is this one of those days you feel like throwing your computer out the window? Do it. Or, rather, have one of your characters do it. Does that not fit into your plot? Have them throw the mailman out the window. Let them throw water balloons at the dog barking across the street. Maybe pull a Gallagher and smash that water balloon.

Smash something. Throw something. Blow something up. Have a temper tantrum. If your character holds herself back from violence, have her imagine herself doing it.

Have fun with it. Let us hear the screams of the mailman. Let us hear the sound he makes as he hits the bush two stories below. Does your character look out the window? What does she see?

That barking dog you are throwing the water balloon at – how does his bark sound? Is it high pitched, or is it a low pitch? Is it a happy bark or an angry bark? How can you tell?

Get specific. We want details. We want you to spill your guts, or the guts of one of the characters. Is it one of your favorite characters that gets tossed out the window? Do you think it is one of the reader’s favorites?

Describe the feelings or lack of feelings after the damage is done? Does your character feel relief, guilt, or something else? Explore those feelings. Find out what makes her tick. How did she get to this point?

Flashbacks are fine, as long as they fit in with the plot. Having a flashback just because you can’t think of anything else to write isn’t. There needs to be a reason for a flashback. If there is no reason, place the scene in the moment. Even if there is a flashback, it is still best to make it feel as if it is in the moment to the character flashing back.

There. Now you feel better, don’t you? How did that change your story? Really? Great! Now write all about it.

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