Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

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Sheri
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Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Sheri » Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:09 am


Sheri
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Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Sheri » Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:09 am

It's like this. I've only been writing for a whole 23 years. I started writing full-length fiction novels about six years ago. I submitted my first finished work for a good mountain of rejections. And my next...and my next...etc.

I took some time off from submitting and did very little writing when my second son was born. He's five now. (My other son is nine.) Between the long nights of broken sleep and the exhausting days of endless crying, my head was in full spin!

Finally, about three and a half years ago I decided it was time to buckle up and mash the gas. I submitted. They rejected. The comments were getting longer and better so I submitted more. I sent off to both publishers and agents.

Rejection, rejection, rejection!

Through all of this, I've kept on writing. I wasn't going to let rejections get in the way of my passion or my dream. Then it happened. I finally got an agent. I signed the contract only a week ago. Now, for some unknown reason, I feel all crazy inside. I haven't been able to write a thing. I sit at my computer with the novel I am currently working on and nothing happens!

I even printed out what I had written so far and sat on my couch with it. I thought maybe if I took it away from my desk and did some "old-style" writing, instead of typing, it might help. No! Nothing! What has happened to me? Just as the ink left that pen, did my creativity leave me when I signed my name to that contract? This has never happened to me before.

Invasion of the imagination snatchers!!! Any suggestions?

Talis1
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RE: Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Talis1 » Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:22 am

First of all, congratulations on getting an agent! I hope it works out for you.

Secondly, maybe subconsciously your mind has switched "off" in shock. After getting so many rejections, I would imagine that getting an agent would feel like the completion of a goal. Perhaps your brain has decided it's achieved the goal set out for it -- getting a positive response -- and has decided (without the input of the rest of you!) that nothing further is required of it?

Just a thought :)

Some ideas that might stir up some of that missing creativity:

Change up your writing space; either switch around the room you write in or try an entirely different location. I like writing on my deck in the summer (unfortunately not an option when said deck is covered in a foot of snow!). Someone else in another thread suggested sitting down in a coffee shop or a Pizza Hut (great idea, lol!).

Head down to your local mall, or park, wherever people congregate, and just watch them. Make up stories about them. Maybe it will trigger an idea for the project you're working on.

Read. When I have a good creative juice flowing, I don't like to get involved in a book. But when I'm running dry, a well-written novel can inspire me. Even a poorly written one can -- it reminds me that if that person could get published, so can I! :)

Good luck with jump-starting your imagination and congrats again!


Aspiring
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RE: Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Aspiring » Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:30 am

Congrats on getting an agent! I've been at it since September with no luck.

I agree with Talis: You may feel so much pressure at landing an agent that you're now stilted. I have some things in common with you, like children that have led me to take time off from writing and still need me enough to be my first priority, so writing takes a back seat (I have a 9-year-old son & 5-year-old twins), and I think I'd be completely blown away if I ever actually got an agent!

I found I was suffering from "writer's block" and got a lot of good advice here. You may want to view that thread (Severe Writer's Block in Block Party) but to sum up: write about something else (if you do fiction, try an essay), brainstorm titles, write in a different place (Pizza Hut or Panera!), try the Writing Prompt here. There were a lot of good ideas. I say, just breath. You got an agent (hooray!) now relax enough, feel good about yourself, and play around a little with your writing to get the juices flowing.

Congratulations and best of luck!

Curious
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RE: Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Curious » Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:44 am

Sheri, I can relate. I did fine through the whole publication thing because my editor seemed like a fun penpal to me--we just had a good time together working on stories. I didn't panic until I had a real "that's a whole year's salary" advance. Then I lost it. I'd say to myself, sure, I like that plot twist, but is it really a $$$$ plot twist? What am I doing here? How did I get under this much pressure?!

I think yours has hit earlier because you've gotten so used to rejection. In a weird way, you've been in control. You could write about what you wanted. No one else seemed to matter. But now--you're in the Big Leagues! And it's scary.

The secret is to remember who you write for. (Or, if you're formal, the secret is to remember for whom you write). You write for yourself--you are your first and best audience. Let yourself write what you like. Sure, you're going to work with your agent. Sure, you're going to work with that editor. But your stuff has to make YOU happy. If you enjoy it as you write it, then you'll write it. It looks like your agent will like it, too. But whatever happens, you won't make everybody happy. Inevitably, someone is going to hate your books. Those other people can't get between you and that keyboard, or you'll never be able to write again.

Just give yourself permission not to care what anybody else thinks. Sit down at the computer and bring back the joy of writing. Forget the contract. It's only paper. Instead, remember what you love. You're going to write the best stuff you can, just as you always have--because that's what you've always wanted to read.

If this is the problem, writing will make it go away, so it's more important than ever to make yourself write--and make yourself appreciate what you've written.

Clare

jasipper
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RE: Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby jasipper » Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:11 am

It all sounds like classic fear of success/failure to me.

Like Clare said, you have to give yourself permission to move on and not care what others think. You also have to realize that you're still Sheri! Sheri's not perfect. Sheri can make mistakes and win and lose. Sheri just had some success and is scared. Don't let that stop you, Sheri. Take a deep breath and let your mind go. I don't know if you're religious at all, but prayer and meditation can help enormously with this. Just relax and let the words come to you. Yoga might help, too.

Best of luck!

Sheri
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RE: Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Sheri » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:20 pm

Talis,

Thanks for your insight and suggestions. My boys are both wrestlers with the Citidel in charleston. Between the practices and weekend competitions-and every other thing that has decided to explode during this oh-so-strange time in my life, I don't see a visit to the mall in my near future. However, I did take your advice and settle down with a good book. It's been close to two weeks since I have done any "worth while" reading and It was quite pleasurable.

It was great to dismiss my own mind and dive into the imagination of another. I feel as if this has helped me in a good way. You were right. My mind needs to take a break, refresh and renew.

I haven't been able to make my way back over to my writing quite yet but I am feeling better. It will come.

Thanks again!!

Sheri
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RE: Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Sheri » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:29 pm

Dear Aspiring,

Thank you for your input. It has been a long journey. In my introduction, I say, "remember your journey". Your words have become a part of that journey. When you get your agent or get published :) I hope these feelings that I am having pass you by. If they don't, I hope that I am here to offer you this same support!

It means a lot.

I haven't seen your feedback yet but I am headed there shortly. Any inspiration is worth the time.

Best of luck to you.

...twins? Wow!!!

Sheri
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RE: Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Sheri » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:45 pm

Curious,

You are absolutely right! I am scared to death. I'm frightened because of... I'm not quite sure!

This is a whole new world I'm entering. I have never had to "force" myself to write before. It has always wanted to come out by itself. So much that I could barely stop it if I needed to.

I write for many reasons but a big one is that there is something inside of me that pushes it out. I don't feel sane if I don't write. Of coarse, I'm not claiming that I am sane. Most writers aren't. (giggle)

It sure is nice to hear that I am not the only writer to experience this--though I wouldn't wish it on any one of us! I don't feel so alone. It is especially nice to hear it coming from someone who has taken this road to the new beginning. Congratulations, by the way!

It is only paper. Now, if I could only get that through my seemingly empty head!

Thank you so much!

Sheri
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RE: Help! I need a good kick in the ___!!

Postby Sheri » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:54 pm

jasipper,

You are right! Sheri is scared. I have done quite a bit of praying through this. Maybe that is what brought me to all of you who have been so helpful and insightful and let's not forget-inspirational. I am feeling better and better. It is amazing how a few inspirational words from across the way can make such a big difference.

Maybe tomorrow.

My mind feels refreshed. It is horrible to say and I may even feel a tad guilty about it, but it has been good to take a breather.

Friends are found in many places!

Thanks.

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