Monday, August 23, 2010

Writing Free

I spent the last month in some sort of weird post-novel ennui funk. I finished Temper but then I couldn't seem to muster up the motivation to work on anything else. I wasn't writing at all, and it was driving me crazy.

Every time I tried to write it was painful. I would stare at the same paragraph, rewriting and rewriting the same five sentences. I wasn't trying to write creatively, I was trying to make every paragraph absolutely perfect before moving forward. And because of that, I wasn't moving forward.

So I had to find my creativity.

One thing that helped was free writing in my notebooks, and also rereading my notebooks from the last year. Laini Taylor writes about the "attic notebook" on her Not for Robots blog, and you should definitely check that out.

I've always kept notebooks, but they take me months to fill. My current one was started in March, and it's just over halfway full. I write down my rough outlines, my blog post ideas, interesting concepts, and just random excerpts that don't really belong to any story but were so vivid in my mind I needed to get them out. I write down word count goals, notes on agents, year long plans of what to write during which month and rough drafts of queries. Sometimes I scribble single sentence concepts, like "Lady Fate" or "The last dragon" because I think I could find a story there if I want to.

Basically I empty my mind on to the page, and the result is a riot of words and strings of thoughts that somehow seem totally organized to me because it's comfortable. It's like hanging out in my own brain.

So that's what I went back to. I flipped through my notebooks. I looked at old ideas and tried to elaborate on them. I started looking everywhere I could for inspiration, and scribbling new ideas on the blank pages. I started free writing, and gathering writing prompts from various places and just letting myself go with it.

Then I started a new story, writing it in a notebook instead of on my computer. It might seem like it'd be harder to be creative in a notebook, because you can't erase or backtrack. But that was kind of the point. Writing in the notebook, I was stuck with what I had. Of course I could go back and scratch out lines and change sentences. Which, of course, I did.

But mostly, I kept moving forward. And that's just what I needed.

I have a couple more blog posts already written up and scheduled for this week (isn't that amazing???). I even have a theme: Encouraging Creativity. Free writing and prompts and all that good stuff. It's nice to be blogging again.

See you tomorrow!


  1. I've written two books and immediately following completing both of them I went into a funk where I had no interest to write AT ALL. But both times the itch to write slowly came back. I think that (for me) its my minds way of recharging and letting the creativity recover.

    I too write in notepads (not notebooks) and my writing ideas all germinate from there. I keep them all in my backpack and refer to the frequently when I'm drafting.

    Its so good to have you back and active again! :)

  2. I'm a fountain of ideas and plot concepts. Revisions however have me stalling and backpedaling away from what needs to be done. I finally set my current WIP aside for a week to give myself some breathing room, before I emerge myself in hell (otherwise known as revisions). (Hugs)Indigo

  3. I'm one of those people who writes and re-writes, and re-re-writes the same sentence over and over again. It is so frustrating sometimes. So yeah, when I need to move forward, sometimes, I write in notebooks. But then, I usually end up just scribbling and re-scribbling and it just becomes a huge mess. So, nowadays, I tend to stick to my Word document. At least I can read it afterward. :)