Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 5: Feed The Current- A Thursday's Children Special

“Write about what you know and care deeply about. When one puts one’s self on paper- that is what is called good writing.” -Joel Chandler Harris

It happens to the best of us.

Things are going so well.  You can't type fast enough for the words tumbling from your brain.  You barely remember to eat, bathe, or use the bathroom- after all, there are more important things to worry about right now.  Who knows, if things keep on like this, you could be finished- finished!- in a matter of days!

And then your muse packs her bags.  The flow dries up.  The word count stagnates.  You try to push through it anyway, but deep in your gut is the horrifying thought: what if this is it?  What if I never get it back? 

Creativity is a lot like a water table: deep, rich, capable of sustaining us through many a long, dry summer.  But at some point, if the winter rains don't come, it will run low.  You recognize it when it happens.  That yearning for something you can't quite name, that hollow tug at your chest.

Don't panic.

There are plenty of things you can do to replenish the well.  Take a walk.  Go for a long drive through the back country.  Treat yourself to a fabulous meal.  Take in some street music.

But occasionally the problem runs deeper than all that.  Sometimes it's not a crisis of creativity, it's a crisis of purpose.  In which case you have to ask yourself: are your dreams big enough for you?

We need to travel scared sometimes.  A pinch in the soft places is good for creativity.  If you're just humming along through the doldrums, then rest assured, your writing will start to read that way.  First it will sound flat, then uninspired, then eventually, it may stop all together.

If, on the other hand, your goals scare the bejeezus out of you, everything you touch gets charged with that electricity.  Including your writing.  Your words hurtle off the page, your passion, your enthusiasm, captured in every one. 

So what do you want?  What do you want even more than that?  It doesn't matter if it sounds ridiculous or impossible.  

In fact, if it doesn't, you're probably not reaching high enough.    

Miss A Day Or Two?
Day 1: Lessons From The Cave
Day 2: Set Your Compass
Day 3: Don't Schedule, Manage
Day 4: You Gotta Hustle

Excerpt from All That Glitters:

“You’re not really going to climb up there, are you?  That’s thirty feet!”

“Thirty-five.  And unfortunately, I don’t have much choice.” He hesitated, then laid a hand over hers.  “Just wait. It’ll be done and over with before you know it.”

Ava squeezed it. “Just… be careful.”  She could tell by the look in his eyes that he wanted to say something, but with the rest of his crew there, he kept his mouth shut.

Roo handed him the replacement cord.  His dark eyes were troubled.  “Safety harness wasn’t where it usually is,boss.  Fact, I couldn’t find it anywhere.”

Ethan’s jaw tightened. “I’ll just have to do without.” He looped the end of the spare cord over his shoulder, and started up the gantry.  The climb was hand-over-hand, the narrow ladder wet with ocean spray.

He made it to the top, straddled the cross-beam, and scooted out to the damaged cord.  Carefully, he threaded the spare through the pulley. He blew out a breath.  “Okay, I’m coming back down!”

Just then, a ferocious gust of wind blew past him.  His hand slipped on the slick surface of the gantry.  He felt himself slide sideways.

Ava’s hands flew to her mouth to stifle a scream.  Raw terror pounded through her veins.  If he fell…

She pushed the thought from her mind.  He wouldn’t fall.  He couldn’t fall.


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  1. You make a lot of very good points in this post. I'm sort of going through that crisis of vision part right now - probably because I've gotten a little further than I ever thought I would... Tx for the pinch in my, um, soft parts.

    1. We do what we can :-) Also, I hit that crisis point when it came time for me to end my book. I'd never done an ending before! Took me a good couple weeks to unfreeze...

  2. Hey Laura,

    Great post! I hate it when you're so close and then nothing...

    Go big or go home is my mantra!! :)

  3. Love this! And funny, for the past few weeks, every time I turn off my laptop it shocks me O_0

    1. Ha! Must be trying to tell you something...

  4. Loved this! "We need to travel scared sometimes" Great Post!

  5. Thank you for this post, Laura. It's *really* resonating with me right now. And like jlobeth, I love the phrase, "We need to travel scared sometimes" - that sums it up perfectly. :)

    1. Thanks lady! Always look forward to you stopping by :-)

  6. Fantastic thoughts. You're right — writing needs that spark, and if you don't have it at the moment, go for a walk (or eat a steak!) until you do. Otherwise it will show up on the page.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Love this post, and the analogy with creativity being like a water table that must be replenished. I know many days I sat in a frenzy not eating--or using the bathroom, while my muse and story held me captive.

    he can't :)

  8. This post is very timely for me so thank you. I'm working on a new WIP that's pushing me in new ways and I like the idea that writing scared is a good thing;-)

    1. Awesome! Glad it helped :-) Good luck!

  9. Ah yes - there are times when I'm ostriching - when I should be writing scared. Taking time out is great for a breather - but I think I need to set some bigger goals. Great post!

  10. This is exactly what I needed to read right now. My last WiP, I was doing really well, the words were just flowing onto the page. This time around, I'm really struggling. So, thank you for this!


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