Thursday, July 7, 2011

Putting Baby in the Corner

If only writing a book was as easy as having a great idea, writing like the wind (with no problems) then not even needing to take a second look. If only every agent would love your book. If only every publishing company would sell sell sell, and think of no one else.

If it were as simple as that, everyone would write books.

Books take time, lots of it. The difficult thing about time is that it is all too easy to get sidetracked. Especially if you had a fabulously relaxing 4th of July. So here are a few tricks I use to get back into the writing/editing groove.

1. Get to know your characters, again. Every time I can't seem to find my place, I have a conversation with my MC. Yes, this sounds crazy, but really all I'm doing is writing conversations in my head anyway. What do we talk about? We go over memories of everything we've been through, and then I ask her about how she feels about certian things. It helps me focus my efforts, because how can I just let her 'die' now?

2. Re-read what you've already written. Yes, it's true that generally you look back at your work and realize how awful it was the first time around. Then you find a gem, that one line that just gets you going again. The one I read yesterday was "Those two will make very pretty, very rude, babies. I wished them well." Maybe it's because I really know my characters, but this line made me laugh so hard I just couldn't quit.

3. Learn from others. Whenever I feel completely hopeless I always seem to find something some famous author said that helps me to move forward. J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times. Sara Gruen (author of "Water For Elephants") admits right on her acknowledgement page that she had to be talked off a ledge. These successful writers had their issues as well, no one is exempt. The difference? They never gave up.

The fact behind any good book is that hours upon hours of work was put into them. The crazy thing is, they, like me, still wrote even though I they didn't expect a return. They hoped for it, but there is no guarantee. Endurance is what every great writer must suffer.

What about you? What do you do when you just can't seem to find your groove?
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