Severe Writer's Block

What's going on in your writing world? Connect with the writing community here and talk about whatever's on your mind.
jasipper
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby jasipper » Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:28 am

After I wrote my first novel, I took an entirely different direction for my second novel. I went from writing historical fiction to writing a YA science fiction novel. I just didn't feel like historical fiction was the road for my second novel. The next novel I am planning will be more literary.

I know bouncing around can be a detriment in some ways, but I find that I just want to write different things and if I don't I'll be giving up my best for the markets. I honestly never want to do that. I guess I'm saying that you don't have to "pigeon-hole" yourself. Give yourself some freedom to write and take advantage of it!

I wish you the best.

Aspiring
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Aspiring » Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:44 am

In some ways I feel great pressure. I see the novel I've written as the first in a series, and say so in my query, and I do have some little ideas for book 2, so I feel compelled to take this on. At the same time, thoughts for an entirely different type of novel crept into my mind much the way the idea for the first novel did, so I have an entire little plot with peaks and valleys already on the brain, and I'd love to pursue that. However, I am the mother of three rather active little boys, and next year when the twins are in school full-day, I'll need to contribute more to the family income, so my time for writing is so limited and will be even more limited. I've had those obsessive moments where I get up at 4:00 am because I worked out a difficult plot twist and need to get it down right away, but then I'm cranky by the time the kids get up and need breakfast and other things. There's not enough time to write everything I'd like to write, and so I'm overwhelmed and not writing. What to do...

Curious
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Curious » Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:58 am

I'm so sorry! Being caught between writing and family is a meat grinder, an awful choice. I find that writing lowers my ability to focus on real-life details all day long: if I'm in the middle of a project, I'm fuzzy and not the greatest homemaker in the world. Once I stop writing and the little creatures go somewhere else to play, I'm sharper and more efficient, so I do feel that my family loses something because of my writing.

I wish I had a solution for both of our sakes! At least you know that you're not the only one.

With all that stress, I'd definitely go for the writing that excites and interests you. Series writing is even trickier than novel writing, and trying to drag a sequel out of yourself when you're not ready to write it yet sounds like a good way to compound the frustration. Give yourself a break! We Moms don't have to be perfect. Do the fun thing.

Clare

jasipper
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby jasipper » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:03 am

I'm with Clare. I think you need a break. Perhaps working on something different or just taking a couple of days off would "reset" you. I find that I occasionally need a couple of days to revive and realize where it is I'm going and why.

I'm not a WAH mom, but my wife is. Sometimes I have to just tell her to give herself permission to relax. Maybe things will become clearer with some extra sleep and a couple of things off your plate for a bit.

Aspiring
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Aspiring » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:05 am

Yes, you're right. I should do the fun thing. I find that both my writing and my mothering skills suffer to an extent -- it's hard to devote undivided attention to anything. Actually, I believe there is no such thing as undivided attention when you're a parent!

So here's my current thought: I feel pressured to write book 2 because I mention the series idea in my query, but agents aren't exactly banging down my door for me to sign a contract. I've made notes for a second book in the series. I can start writing the one I envision more entirely, and get back to book 2 should anyone ever be interested. That may take some of the pressure off just enough to get those juices flowing. (Although I'm afraid of becoming one of those people who have several novels started, but can't seem to finish them...)

I have to say, getting back to the balance of parenting and writing, I am very inspired here by those of you who have managed to achieve such balance with such success. At this point I'm still "aspiring..."

Curious
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Curious » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:42 am

Now, now, you've already finished a novel--AND polished it! So you won't ever be one of those people who can't finish a novel....

Clare

Aspiring
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Aspiring » Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:09 am

Thanks, Josh. I think you're right.

Jumbie
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Jumbie » Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:25 am

I'll start with this caveat: Everything here is my experience, and I, so far, am also unpublished. Take it for what it is - free advice - and remember, you get what you pay for. :)

I agree with almost everything here. I am in a similar situation (the writing part - not the kids). I finished my first novel (which I had no idea I wanted to write until I sat down and started because I couldn't get a scene out of my head) and have plans for a series. The second was in my head as I wrote the first, and for a long time afterward, but I couldn't get it going. I wrote notes, first chapters, etc. and nothing got me excited. Then I came up with a way to tie all my titles together and started thinking of possible titles (my way of getting the creative juices flowing, I guess) and from there came an entirely new idea for another book in the series. I started writing it and it's working.

Now, I'm also writing another story that has nothing to do with the series. To contradict a couple of people who posted above, I began writing a short story. My main character spread her wings and decided she wanted more, and now I'm working on a novel with the original short story as most of the first chapter. (Re-written, of course, too much information too soon for a novel.)

Anyway... I do have a point and I'm getting to it. I think your muse will attack you when you least expect it. When I was thinking of titles, I wasn't planning a book, but ideas bombarded me as I came up with the titles. And I never expected a short story character to take over to that extent.

Basically, if you write - almost anything (I posted an answer to one of the writing prompts in here and then turned it into a short story that I hope to publish) then you will get inspired. So keep writing. Anything you want to. As (I think it was Clare) said, write what makes you happy.

Enjoy your writing. But, more important, enjoy your family.


Aspiring
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Aspiring » Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:50 am

Interesting name, Jumbie. My first novel involves Santeria, which made its way from West Africa via the Carribbean to the US, along the lines of Voodoo, but not quite.

Interesting idea too. The title for the first novel came up while I was writing, and as it turns out, is used elsewhere and so if the novel is ever published, it will be under a different name. I like the idea of brainstorming titles and using that to inspire a story. I think it could work and I'm going to try it. Thanks!

abqwriter
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby abqwriter » Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:54 am

I am actually starting a new novel today - based entirely on a short comment by our own John Marfink!  It will be trendy, light hearted, with a real breezy feel - quite a shift in attitude and mood from my last novel.  I am suspecting that the first novel will be a hard sell for a first-time writer, since it is heavy and dark and deep.  So, I'll keep sending out queries, but I'm through worrying about it.

I think sometimes starting a new project helps bring perspective and energy.

You may find the same - get immersed in a new project and eventually, you may find that you can revisit this novel with a fresh perspective.

Best wishes!


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