Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm afraid...of writer's block

Sure I've met with the wall.

It happens about three times during my novel. After chapter three when I have defined my characters and am not sure what the hell the story is. Around mid-way when I'm sure this book is total crap and I shouldn't be writing it. And after I end the first draft and know that I have to go into the dreadful second draft phase. The second draft usually takes longer than the first draft because you have to clean up a lot of nonsense--the only saving grace, you have already typed THE END and you don't have to feel like quite the loser while you struggle through each sentence.

BUT is this writer's block or exhaustion? Am I just tired of typing away about one set of people or am I really hitting a block and need a bulldozer or a cosmopolitan to get past it? Or a Writer's Block, a drink that I came across in the New York Times.

Writer’s Block
Fresh lime juice
Muscat sparkling wine

I don't know if it works but it definitely puts me in a good mood. But nearly any cocktail can do that.

But these are still the good times. Ask my husband and he'll tell you that I'm much less of an uber bitch when I at least have a book to work on. When I'm in between stories it's a whole other story. My kids are going to grow up and say that they knew mama was a writer because she kept saying things like, "I got nothing to say. No stories, no nothing." And their favorite, "Can you keep it down, I'm in the middle of a sentence."

I hit major block when I finish a book, send it away, and have nothing but an empty page in front of me. There is nothing more intimidating than typing in the title of the book (I need a title before I can write anything) and chapter 1. I hate typing in chapter 1 and sometimes write a Prologue that may or may not be part of the final book. A prologue makes me feel safe, like it's
going to be all right, that the book will have a THE END.

I'm not having writer's block right now--and maybe that's why I can write about it. During writer's block, nothing comes out, and I mean nothing. I sit in front of the computer and watch TV, read a book while the laptop is on my lap, or chat with my husband about complete nonsense, ask my children to play monopoly with me until they're sick and tired of it--I do laundry, cook up a storm, go out with friends, invite people over all the time--anything to not look at the blank screen with no title and no chapter 1. Just a file titled Latest1.docx in a folder called Latest1.

It's the hardest time in any writer's life. I fear the wall. I fear opening the story I'm working on and finding that there are no new words, there's nothing to say, nowhere to go.

I'm almost ready to finish draft 1 of a book--and I know that the wall is rigth around the corner. I'm going to hit it and then what? I have to get through quickly because I only have two weeks of vacation and I need to get the manuscript to my agent by Labor Day Weekend. So I have my fingers crossed--I'm counting on skipping the wall this time as I type THE END and think, this book is a total waste of time. I need to rewrite the whole thing. I need to rewrite every book I have ever written.

After five books you'd think I'd be more sure of myself--you'd be so wrong. Self doubt is my middle name. I'm a writer and I'm scared of hitting the wall.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New study...lots of writing

So we moved again. This time it's for keeps - or at least 5 years. Anyway, that's what we're telling ourselves. This is our fourteenth dwelling in the fourteen years we've known each other. We're exhausted. This is the first though that we threw out and gave away all our packing boxes. It's very liberating.

It's a great time to move. The weather is lovely so we can enojy our trouble-free garden that is all lawn and bush and lovely easy-to-climb apple trees. I'm not climbing the apple trees but my boys are all over them. My younger one spends a lot of time up there - doing god knows what because the apples are not big or ripe enough to eat.

So I have a beautiful study now. Mostly it is empty - has a couple of book shelves and a table facing a window that opens into a big patch of lavender. It's very inspiring. And even though I had my doubts, I have been writing up a storm, which is a good thing because I really need to finish this book and send it to my agent by the end of August. When life comes back to the publishing world after Labor Day I want to be locked and loaded with a finished manuscript. Fingers crossed!

Hope everyone is having a lovely summer!

Check out John Blumenthal's Blog

My friend John Blumenthal is a very cool writer - and not just novels, movies too. He wrote the superhit from the nineties BLUE STREAK.

His latest blog is titled:

"How Can Mike Huckabee Dispute Evolution When He Was Elected By Neanderthals?....And Other Political Queries."

Check it out, comment, rant, tell a friend, call John an idiot... whatever.