Nancy: Because Every Story Is a Special Snowflake

Writers love to talk about writing processes. We’re pantsers, or plotters, or ultra-plotters. We follow the hero’s journey, or Lisa Cron’s story genius method, or the snowflake method (no, seriously!), or one of a thousand either guru-inspired approaches. We write chronologically. Or out of order. Or by writing all the turning points first and filling in the interstitial spaces after that. We swear by writing every day, or binge-write a few times a week or a month.

By the time we’ve spent a few years on this journey and gotten a few completed stories under our belts, most of us have discovered our own process, our unique mix story theory and project organization and time management that ultimately results in a book. And once we understand our own approach, we learn to rely on it to get us through the next story deadline, and the one after that, and…you get the idea. And that can be a wonderful thing. It’s a well-worn path that becomes a shortcut to our creativity. An annotated roadmap to get us from nascent idea rattling around inside our bizarre writer brains to full-fledged story ready to go out into the world. A comforting guide to get us through the rough spots.

Until it stops working.

While every book requires tweaks and adjustments to our approach, every now and then there’s a book that so special (yes, that’s a euphemism for PITA) that we have to throw our trusty process right out the window. And so that’s where I find myself today, with the next installment in the Harrow’s Finest Five series, Harry and Adelia’s love story.

If this ever happens to you in your creative journey–and odds are, it will–it’s important to remember it’s normal, it’s surmountable, and it’s probably even good for you. After all, what good is creativity if it’s easy and stagnant and follows that same stupid rut-filled path every time, anyway? And in case you do ever hit that wall, I’ll tell you the same thing my wise writing friends have been telling me: Continue reading

Justine: Avoiding Procrastination

What am I waiting for?I had originally intended today’s post (which is late…note the procrastination topic above) to be about another copy editing challenge you can overcome (here’s my last one on apostrophes), but this article caught my eye:

Procrastination is an Emotional Problem

Wait, what? All my life, my mother has hammered into me that procrastination is a time-management problem, and this article is suggesting otherwise?

I dove in and started reading. Because procrastination isn’t just a problem for me. It’s a skill I’ve unwittingly mastered. And I blame my procrastination on everything from attention deficit disorder to my two kids (I know, unfair, right?) to just plain having too much to do.

But it turns out, based on research, that procrastination is tied to your emotions. Continue reading

Michille: Getting My Writing Mojo Back

woman-computer

Photo: The Harris Poll

I write in fits and starts. I wish I didn’t. I wish I wrote every day, butt in the chair, hands on the keyboard, etc, etc, every day, but I don’t. Sometimes, I do write a lot and think of my story and my series a lot. And sometimes I don’t. I am in a don’t period right now. Back in the November, NaNo gave me a huge boost in word count, creativity, and energy for my story that carried me through a month or two. Then life interrupted . . . I don’t need to go into details on my interruptions, you can fill in the blanks with yours. Continue reading

Justine: Tricks to Help You Focus

Depressed man with worried desperate stressed expression and brain melting into linesI have attention deficit disorder. I’ve had it my entire life, and because of a heart condition, I can’t take medication for it. ADD makes staying focused one any one task for a long period of time very difficult (unless I’m really excited about the task — like reading a book from my favorite author).

In the past, I’ve tried setting goals in order for me to get my writing done. But word count goals didn’t work for me, especially when I was editing. Did I really write 1,000 words? No idea…too much cutting/pasting/adding. Plus, there were some days Continue reading

Michille: Procrasti Nation Again

The View

Sometimes I have difficulty coming up with ideas for this blog. When I do, I start with my old blog posts to see if any of them spark ideas for new ones. In today’s case, I found one from almost exactly a year ago that sums up where I am now. AGAIN.

In November I was going gangbusters on my WIP. I kept up the progress for a couple of months and then . . . ppppfffttt. The motivation fizzled out. I think part of it came from the realization that, not only did I miss the Golden Heart deadline, but I would have to miss RWA. AGAIN. (big sigh) And part of it is, of course, life interrupted. So now I’m back living in the same place I was a year ago. Continue reading

Jeanne: Protecting Your Muse

Among my Naughty dogmany character flaws, the one that has caused me the most grief over the years is probably my impulsiveness. I’m not good, even at the ripe old age of 65, at thinking through potential consequences before I act. 

Because I’m so weak on the strategic side, I’ve developed a lot of skill at tactical reaction. Most of the time, no matter how poorly thought out my original plan, I can wrangle it into something less than a total failure.

But not always.

Last fall I decided I wanted a dog. Because of my age, and because of a strong need in the community, it seemed like a good idea to adopt a rescue dog. I’ve owned a couple of Australian shepherd mixes over that years, and I’ve always wanted a full-bred one, so I applied to an Aussie rescue group. They sent a flock of pictures and my husband and I picked one out and went to meet him the day after Thanksgiving.

Continue reading

Michille: Write Your Novel in a Year

wendig

As so many people say, or in this case after I googled ‘write your novel in a year’, so many web pages say it. I’ve discussed Writers Write and Anthony Ehlers series called Write Your Novel in a Year. The blog very kindly consolidated all 52 posts here. I have Chuck Wendig’s infographic on my bulletin board (if you don’t like foul language, skip this one). And I’ve tried the NaNo method (although I knew I wouldn’t write an entire novel in a month). I don’t read these because I think any one of them will be the magic bullet, but I do regularly find motivation to keep writing. Here are some of the new ones I found: Continue reading