Elizabeth: Cold Starts and Fresh Starts

Stories waiting to be told

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is getting that first sentence on the page.  There is nothing quite as demoralizing as staring at a blank screen, fingers poised over the keys, with a mind completely devoid of any creative thought.  Diana Gabaldon refers to her approach to combating this common writing problem as her cold start process, which she discusses here.

This week on the blog we’ve been discussing our own cold start processes.  In their own posts Justine, Nancy, and Jeanne each focused on their cold start processes for existing stories.  Many of their steps, like re-reading what was previously written, making sure to have a story-plan in place before even starting to write (spreadsheets and planers and outlines, oh my!), and working up a scene skeleton (with characters, beats, goals, etc.) echo some of methods I’ve used in the past, with varying degrees of success, depending upon the story in question and the amount of effort I’ve been willing to expend (day jobs can put a real crimp in one’s creative inclinations).

There are, however, two things I’ve consistently found helpful when I’m really focusing on writing. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Motivation Under Pressure

diamondimageIn my blog post a few weeks ago I talked about a variety of ways to keep motivated during the writing process. As the comments on that post confirmed, what motivates us varies from person to person, and sometimes even from project to project.

My stated goal at that time was to finish revising my manuscript so that I could send it off to the folks at RWA to qualify for “PRO” (professional writer) status.   The deadline to submit a PRO application in time to have it processed before the start of the upcoming national conference was July 1st. I’m happy to say that I was able to meet that deadline with hours to spare. 🙂 To do so, I got more than 15,000 words down on paper in about 2 ½ weeks time.

I was thrilled, naturally. Continue reading