I've been reading a great deal lately where people say that writer's block is a myth. Our muse doesn't get blocked, they say. We're just making excuses to not writer.
To them I say that if this is true, then "burnout" is also a myth. Think about it - if you apply this logic to every other area of life, then it logically follows that you don't get burned out on work; you simply get lazy and don't want to work anymore.
Now how does that arguement sound? Extreme, right? Well, I'll go to the other extreme and say that if a writer hasn't experienced writer's block, then I wonder if they're really writers. Because frankly, there's a difference between crafting a piece that is truly researched and developed and pounding out whatever random crap runs through your brain. If you want your work to be published and well received by readers, then you must invest in it by putting the time, thought and effort into it to make it the best piece it can be. That doesn't happen overnight and frankly, it can be a daunting task.
I know I sound peevish, but I've been writing for nearly 11 years and it makes me angry for people to "assume" that I get writer's block occasionally because I'm lazy. First of all, you don't stick with something for this long if your lazy. Second, you won't survive in the writing world in you're lazy because you'll drown in the flood of others that are willing to work at it and put their best work forward to get a break.
Writer's block does exist, and it's not laziness. Rather, I return to my previous statement of comparing it to burnout. I believe it's a natural tendency for us to get stuck in ruts and to show us that we need to break out of the same old same old to refresh ourselves and feed our muse. It's a sign that we need to slow down, relax, and experience life in order to refresh our creativity. Tapping that same old well over and over again is only going to drain it dry. We need to replenish it in order to keep turning out fresh work. We need to look around and find new ideas instead of pounding the same old ones, over and over. We need to stretch, grow and learn. And yes, sometimes it means we do need to take a break and live a little. A writer without a life isn't much of a writer. You need to live your life and fully experience it in order to keep the creativity flowing.
So yes, writer's block is just as real as burnout. And if you don't believe me, I challenge you to cancel your vacations this year and don't take a day of leave for the next 365 days. Then tell me what's real.
That's all for today.
Ok folks, the holidays are over and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks pulled off an outstanding win over Nebraska yesterday. Today was back to reality. Hmm. Can we skip the rest of winter now and go straight to spring?
Didn't think so. Crap.
This is when winter starts to hurt. The excitement of the holidays are over and it's time to get back in our routine that has us out at sunrise and coming back at sunset as we muddle through the cold days of winter. Everything seems bare, dead, and cold. Yes, it's depressing. The trees and decorations are down. No goodies lie around the office to munch on anymore. No more presents will be given or received. And there were no Christmas lights to welcome me home.
Truth is, though, it's not all dead - it's merely resting to put forth that burst of energy that brings vibrancy and life during the other three seasons of the year. The trees and grass are dormant, not dead. Just as I needed the past 11 days off work to keep from getting burned out, so too does nature need to rest in order to bring us life and bounty through the rest of the year.
Truth be told, the season isn't without merit. I usually do my most (and best) writing in the winter. In fact, I wrote the rough drafts of Blurry and Anywhere But Here in January and February, and did major work on Splinter during that same time frame last year. My productivity with my writing seems to be at it's highest during the winter. I guess that makes sense. If everything is dull routine, then that means fewer distractions to pull me away from my computer. A resting world gives my muse time and energy to come alive. And I hope that pattern resumes this winter - considering that I haven't written anything new since November and am itching to create more new work in the new year! (All of the work on my writing has been in the area of publicity and promotion - good, but I miss creating new work too!)
Winter is a good time to catch up on indoor activities that seem to move to the back burner during the busy summer and holiday seasons. It's a great time to read, for example, or take up an art or craft. I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I used to stitch a good bit in the winter when I wasn't working on novels. Cold days are also good fo DVD marathons of your favorite movie series or TV shows or playing games. I noticed yesterday when I went out that most stores are having some of their best sales of the season, so there are deals to be had on winter clothes. Treadmills and gyms make it possible to exercise indoors to keep you active. And, of course, the Internet is an endless source of information and entertainment to keep you occupied, from joining online groups that focus on an interest or hobby, finding new recipes to try cooking this weekend, or looking up entertainment in books, music, etc from independent artists.
Hmm. Suddenly winter doesn't seem so glum. In fact, it sounds like I could find plenty to do that will make the next two months pass painlessly.
Here's hoping your new year is off to a great start. Take care and I'll see you next time.
Hi everybody, I hope you're doing well. My name is Chloe, and I'm Sherri's female sun conure. Sherri (I call her mommy bird) is a bit tired tonight. She got over her cold to discover that the house was dirty, so she spent a few nights cleaning it. Then today she took off work to go to the Holiday Craftsman's Classic with her Mom. They do that every year. She came back this afternoon loaded down with bags and said she started some Christmas shopping. Snazzy stuff, too. Very unique, which is right up her ally. Anyway, she's a bit worn out, so I said I'd help by pecking out a blog entry for her tonight. Halloween was uneventful. Zack was happy. He said that when they lived in a neighborhood the children would come to the door and expect mommy and daddy to give them candy - for free! It really ticked him off. He's content to cackle at horror movies with daddy now on Halloween. I find the entire holiday completely silly. Goblins and ghouls and ghosts and bogeymen - completely ridiculous.
Daddy accepted an offer to help design a website for someone this week, and the gentleman is supposed to come by tomorrow to see some preliminary work and give daddy some better ideas of how to design it. Daddy did such a good job with the church website at www.mttaborlutheran.org and he's excited about this new opportunity. Mommy is happy about it too. Daddy likes designing websites and she said she's very glad he's developing this.
What a windy day it was today! And it seemed to get worse as the day went on! I was definitely glad I got adopted by a family that lets me live in the house with them. Life in an aviary is ok as long as the weather is nice. But weather, wind and rain - terrible for the feathers. Mine have gotten so much softer since they adopted me. I'm softer than cotton now! And I don't have to fight to get to the food dish any more either - I have my own food bowl! I love it. I love my toys. I love mommy, daddy, Zack and Ollie. I love my life. It's a happy life. Sometimes I'm so happy that I dance. But I'm a bit sleepy now and tired of typing, so I'm going to go now. If you want to know a bit more about me, Zack and Ollie, please feel free to check out our website at http://conurecorner.weebly.com .
Mommy said to tell you Happy Friday. I hope you have a good weekend as well.
I think I finally figured out why I wasn't having any luck with my short stories. It's because I was taking the same approach to them as I did to writing a novel. Unfortunately, what works for novels just doesn't work for short stories. It can't. It's a totally different form.
Novels are about creating a world and weaving a tale that takes readers on an adventure. They should come out of it feeling like they know the characters and have lived the experience.
Short stories are about hitting emotions. You don't have time to develop complex plots or deep characters. The limited space of a short story (or even flash fiction) requires that you hit the readers emotions hard and back off. Readers should come out of short stories relating to feelings or emotions.
I was missing this, until now. Lately, I've been trying to tweak my approach. It's a work in progress, but I recently had a bit of success. A flash fiction piece I wrote for Paragraph Planet will be posted there tomorrow. I hope this means I'm getting on the right track.
Don't get me wrong - novels are still my passion and my #1 form. But I enjoy short stories too. My inability to write ones that really "pop" (or get published) has been frustrating me for a few years. I hope I finally learned the secret to nailing this particular form and that I will continue to improve. I'd like to be able to write short stories well too. Nobody wants to be a one trick wonder.
I saw that my New Years Resolution to research ways to write better was paying off with the book contract, but maybe it's paying off in other ways too. I should have done this long ago but better late than never, right?
It's definitely a process, and I see that it needs to be a continual process. To become a better writer is not only about writing and reading - it's about studing the craft as well.
That's all today. Bye!