Monday, May 22, 2006

Rollercoaster

Ack. There was a complete kerfuffle at work today. People getting pissed off at other people, people throwing money at other people in a huff (!), people sending out emails to ALL about what other people should not be doing anymore...{sigh} I would try to stay out of it, but sadly I'm the boss, and they all keep coming to me. {head. on. desk.}

Anyway, I hope it's over now, and we can all get back to some sort of non-junior-high behavior. One can only hope. In any case I am in the 3 days between weekend and vacation (San Diego! Huzzah!), so I just have to hang on for a little longer.

Now, to writing talk.

Here's a question that comes up, over and over, on writing boards and the like: "What do you do when you're stuck? How do you get past writer's block?"

First, I hate the term "writer's block". It bugs me. I guess because in my experience people who say they have "writer's block" tend to use it as a crutch, as a valid reason not to write. "Oh, I'd be writing now, but I have this horrible writer's block, so I'll have to wait until that's gone." Or worse, "The muse is not speaking to me right now."

Thus I will say that I've never had "writer's block". What I have experienced--and no doubt ALL of you other writers have too--are the difficult, dark times of writing. The struggles. The times when you sit down and write, and absolutely everything sounds like crap, like you've forgotten how to put a sentence together so that it makes some sort of sense. Or worse: the plot is a mystery to you, the characters are dull and lifeless, you can't see why on earth you ever thought you could write a decent book that anyone would want to read. The Doldrums.

I suspect the doldrums are a normal part of the writing process, nasty as they can be. From the little time I've been doing this fiction thing (roughly 6 years), I've noticed that there are cycles. Sometimes the writing is up, up, up, fast and furious, wonderful inspired stuff; sometimes it's just work, one word in front of the other; and sometimes there are the doldrums. But it's all normal, and we all experience these cycles.

So how do you get past the doldrums? Some writers find success in going to another WIP, in varying their mental landscape. People who actually make their living writing probably have to do multiple projects to make it a go. Failing that, my answer is the only answer, I think: keep writing. Don't stop because of doldrums. Don't give up. (Don't throw out all the "crap" you write while in them, either; it's probably not as bad as you think, and some can be saved.) Keep Writing Regularly. If you work at it, it will get better. Things will swing around again, and lo and behold you're in a fast and furious, genius phase.

Oh, and make sure you get support from your writer buddies when you're in a low phase. If you pick the right ones, they're really, really good at telling you you're full of it and you don't suck as bad as you think.

Right, Ladies? :)

(And thank God I'm not in the doldrums right now. Halfway between fast and furious and work, I think.)

Medieval Word of the Day: sleme: weariness.

5 comments:

JK said...

It's great to hear you're not stuck in the doldrums these days...'cause I'm waiting to read TMT the second you're done!

Julie

Susan Adrian said...

Thanks, Julie! 15% to go. :)

Suze

Anonymous said...

Suze,

Regarding your work-place kerfuffle (great word, btw): next time, send them all to their cubicles without lunch. [g]

As for the writer's block: "A rose by any other name..." [g] Still, you make a good point; but then, you usually do. [s]

--Linda

Susan Adrian said...

Thanks, Linda! You know I wasn't referring to you with the writer's block thing. Life interfering is different. (But if you tell me your muse is on vacation I will have to kill you {g}.)

I wish I could send them to their cubicles. Sadly, I just had to placate some of them and scold others. Hmmm, just like a mom, huh?

Suze

Granny Grimes said...

Suze,

I know you weren't referring to me. {s} But, still, you've created a monster...Bwah-ha-HAH!

--Granny Grimes