Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

How Janey got her groove back January 7, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 11:10 pm
Tags: , ,

I seem to have got my groove back, thank God!

Thanks for the advice and encouragement after my last discouraged post- it all helped.

I simply decided these characters were worth writing about, even if it’s just for me and not ever for publication. Putting the pressure to write well wasn’t helping at all. I was expecting too much from my first draft, and not just letting it be first draft. The only way out was to just write my way out, because it came down to that or giving up. And I’m surely not  ready to give up!

What helped? Using Write or Die in short bursts -500 words in 20 minutes seems to work well for me-  it’s doable and not an offputting impossible seeming target. Engraving “It’s okay to write crap in first draft” on my brain. Putting writing high on my priorities. Remembering that it’s the character’s story, not mine- I need to do let them do their thing, without me getting in their way too much at this stage, and allow them to surprise me. I guess that’s another way of saying- don’t let my critical left brain mess too much with what has to be a creative right brain process. And also another way of saying that the story  has to be about two people falling in love, not about me throwing in yet another plot device.

Word count is creeping up. I’m a little behind the higher target I set to get to 60,000 words before I have to go on a work trip on the 25th, but almost spot on target at 22% if I had the whole month to use. I feel like I’m getting momentum now, and coming into a run of steady progress, before I come unstuck again somewhere in the middle.  

I love these characters! Happy writing, everyone.

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15 Responses to “How Janey got her groove back”

  1. Jane Holland Says:

    So pleased to hear this!

  2. Maisey Yates Says:

    That’s great, Jane! (and here I was expecting to read that you had a wild fling with a younger man…but this is good too)

    Great advice about plot devices, and something I’ve been applying to my own work for my revisions!

  3. waitingforthecall Says:

    LOL Maisey, I married a younger man and he might feel I’m in breach of contract if I take up with another one. Is it emotional infidelity if I’m in love with my hero? Last night I wrote the “kissing on the beach” scene- woo hoo that Nick is one hell of a kisser!

  4. Kelly Boyce Says:

    Congrats on getting your groove back! I think taking the pressure off yourself in a first draft is essential. Crap can be fixed. A blank page just sits there and mocks you.

  5. Caroline Says:

    Glad you are back on track! Caroline x

  6. Marilyn Says:

    I know there are some of you out there that entered the Writing Competition. I just saw this blog post on Alison Kent’s blog and she’s giving away some old RWA workshop tapes and thought I would pass along. As I’m NOT a writer but a reader/reviewer, I’ve so enjoyed all of your posts and wish you every success.

    Here’s the link and please feel free to pass along to others.

    http://www.alisonkent.com/blog/2010/01/07/some-reader-stuff-some-writer-stuff/

  7. Lorraine Says:

    Hi Jane, sorry I was late reading your last post. The bleurghh feeling is quite widespread at the moment, you’d be surprised. While some people are bounding into the new writing year others are limping. I’ve opted for 20 minute bursts myself and am ignoring any self beating up tendencies. I think it works quite well. Good luck 🙂

  8. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks Jane, Kelly, Caroline and Marilyn (thanks for the link too!)

    Are you finding things a bit blah as well, Lorraine? It sucks, but I’m glad you are dealing with it too. 20 minute bursts seem just the right length. I can get 500 words without pushing too hard, which ups the word count respectably (10 of those make at good long chapter!), and it’s not so long that I either put it off, or start but get restless and twitchy midway through. If I’m struggling I give myself a break after the 20 minutes, if I’m on a roll I just keep going.

    We definitely all need to quit that self beating up far more than any other bad habit!

  9. Eileen Says:

    Well I agree that quitting the self-beating up needs to stop, however I just indulged in a whopping session of it tonight.

  10. waitingforthecall Says:

    Sorry to hear that, Eileen. Self-flagellation really hurts. You write well. I hope it’s passed and today you can just get on with the writing.
    LOL, I woke up in the night and had a delightful (not!) hour telling myself everything that was wrong with my story so far.

  11. Amy Strnad Says:

    Hooray Jane! Just so you know, reading about your frustrations was very therapeutic for ME as I was in the middle of suffering a severe case of doubt as well. Must be where the idea for ‘group therapy’ came from. Anyway, glad to hear you’re back on track. Sometimes, we just gotta show that inner critic who’s boss!!

    Good luck and . . . may you be filled with boundless enthusiasm for the rest of this manuscript!

    Amy

  12. Kaily Hart Says:

    Glad to hear it! I looked at Write or Die and I’m not sure it would suit my style. Too much reflecting as I write!! BTW, I nominated you on my blog for a Kreativ Blogger award. I didn’t know what it was but it was passed to me and ended up being fun. I really enjoy stopping by your blog to see what you’re up to. ENJOY!

  13. waitingforthecall Says:

    Hey, thanks Kaily! I hadn’t heard of that one either but it looks fun! Now to pass it on…

    Write or Die is really only any good for writers who write better when they do fast messy first drafts (in my case requriing massive editing afterwards). No use at all and positively annoying for the other half of the writing world who prefer to edit as they go!

  14. Janet Says:

    I’m definitely finding things a bit blah. Can’t seem to find a story idea I like enough to want to write it.

  15. waitingforthecall Says:

    Amy and Janet, sorry you’ve had the blahs too. Post contest and Christmas slump?
    I’m glad I decided to dive into a JanNo, it’s helping keep me motivated. LOL, my goal is 2,500 words a day, at least that’s got me manging 1,000. If I aim to write 1,000 a day I’m lucky if I do 250!
    Hope you’re both back on whatever track you want to be on and full of enthusiasm soon!


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