Would You Trade Your Writer’s Block?

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I promise that it was there… until I woke up. Didn’t you see it when you arrived? Maybe it departed on wings of… well take your pick, on Gossamer, feather, metal, wood or leather.

Time to be honest. I don’t suffer from writer’s block. Maybe I have an antigen in my makeup, or my muse works overtime.  Whichever it is, I have too many ideas, therefore too many first drafts that need editing.  I just need to find the one idea that fits the moment.

However, I admit with Multiple Sclerosis that I am always losing thoughts as I write. This post is a typical example as I lost my train of thought many times. Whether the thought ever came back, I don’t remember. Yes, it’s that bad.

As for my block it’s over editing, but more of that later.

Let’s continue with my primary antigens to Writer’s Block. Not all of them work all of the time, but at least one might yield something that I can use. Maybe even something that helps you.

  1. DREAMS: We all dream, although we often forget most of them. I don’t always have inspiring dreams, but there are a few that offer something of worth. When I wake up, I either write the dream down or work through the idea that it inspires, for later use as either a scene, a short story, or a novel.

 

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

  1. PHOTOS: Although I used to take photographs as an equestrian journalist, it tends to be other people’s photos that yield the best inspiration. On Pinterest I have gradually collated images to inspire new ideas. See my Pinterest file here.

 

  1. OUTDOORS: When I was more mobile, I found that getting out into natural surroundings would inspire me. That included observing people in the street or park. I once got the idea for a Haiku about a kite from a summer wander – or was it a Senyru? Nowadays I have to rely more on my immediate surroundings for inspiration – like “Black with Secrets, Adorned with Silver”, my Blog Post on Monday, which was inspired by dawn sounds that woke me up. One advantage is gazing at Snowdon every day.

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  1. GAMING: Okay playing online games – MMORPGs – is one of my ways to chill… a reward like chocolate, but gaming is a source of inspiration. I have two draft novels set against a gaming world, in fact a fictional gaming world based on my short story saga “Gossamer Flames”. I’m not sure what the inspiration for the first novella that became “Gossamer Flames” was, but gaming has built more of the world. Ironically, the novella –Weave of the Sister Skein – appeared while I was recovering from my first MS attack in 1999.

I’m sure that you can suggest other sources of inspiration, and you are welcome to add them in your comments.

So to My Block and Insecurity – Editing. I am churning out first drafts faster than I can edit them. My mind can no longer deal with focusing on finding the faults. Yes I can trudge through the manuscript – not MS, please, as I live with a MonSter already. Trawling word by word, I aim for perfection. I search for plot holes and character flaws. But I need months, even years. Time is not on my side.

Perhaps I need an editor partner. Maybe someone that can take my words then polish the idea into something worth reading. All offers considered.

Maybe that’s another Writing Unblock antigen. Anyone want to trade?

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day, when we talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs, perhaps offering a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

This is my monthly IWSG post and there are many more words of wisdom out in cyber-space. I’m only a single blip among 290 other amazing bloggers rocking the neurotic writing world. If you click here there are links to all of them and you can visit as many as you want.

All thanks to Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom!

Blogging a Dead Horse or an Ex-Parrot

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How do you keep blogging when you lack motivation and satisfaction? Do you ask yourself, why am I writing a blog? Who is out there waiting for the next captivating post?

Okay your blog will probably show how many people are following you and also how many times a page is viewed. I have 768 followers and I have got at the most 197 views – on one day in August 2013. But those followers include all those who follow my blog, plus my Facebook followers, those on Twitter and others. And the views include the times that I check my old posts when I’m not logged in. Do they include the times when I am logged in?

So it’s probably valuable information and stats – if you know how to read them correctly, and don’t get confused by false figures created by your own pingbacks. I don’t understand the minute detail and just get depressed looking at all the figures. They make we wonder if my blog is a dead horse or maybe an ex-parrot. [For those that understand, the answer is probably it’s “pining for the fjords” or simply “stunned”. Except it’s not Norwegian.]

I can see some pattern emerging as to which posts are viewed most – mainly the ones during the Indie Blog Party August 19-30 2013, plus a few posts referencing marketing strategies and my insecurities. My interviews with the characters of my first novel, Spiral of Hooves stirred some interest. But my posts during the Blogging from A to Z Challenge last month had a dozen views each, at most, with very few comments – some days none.

Does this mean that you want more insecure ramblings interspersed with the strategies of an unqualified novice? I’m not an expert on anything. My special subject is writing about other people after they have won some equestrian competition.

Maybe this blog needs to be put out to grass or stuffed – it would mean I’d have more time for writing fiction or gaming.

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Comments might be a guide to the blog’s health, if I can ignore the pingbacks again – each time I reference an old post, it becomes a comment – great. So this post is minimal with just one reference to another of my posts. But are comments relevant? I’ve read great posts with none, entertaining posts with numerous ones, and obscure weird minimalist posts with dozens. Mine just average two or three. Is there a magic formula?

Reading other blogs, I see that a specific theme can work, like book reviews, author interviews, or observations on the world outside.

Over to you readers and followers. How do you want to see this Blog evolve? What do you enjoy reading? I explored the options initially in Two Futures: Facts or Fiction back on January 18, with no conclusive suggestions.

Is it a dead horse or an ex-parrot? [Other animals bereft of life perhaps]

Or do I need more interviews with characters, or other writers, even riders? [Badminton winner, if I can reach him/her after the weekend.]

Or rant more about my insecurities and health? [Doing a backflip in my wheelchair on the front ramp.]

Should I be more selective in what I say, research less and save my words? [Small is beautiful.]

What do you think?

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This is my monthly post in the Insecure Writers Support Group day and I’m supposed to be offering encouragement. Maybe there will be some words of wisdom out there. I’m only number 207 among 320 other great bloggers. If you click here there are links to all of them and you can visit as many as you want.

Digging out the Motivation

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

There’s blood hiding in the blizzard and the voices in my head are asking: Why is the protagonist acting so weird? Why is the heroine still friendly with her unfaithful ex?  What’s driving this group of diverse characters forwards and are they heading for a memorable climax or just oblivion?

I thought I had nearly finished my final edit of ‘Spiral of Hooves’ but then the niggling voices began. I’ve read a number of blogs recently that have led me to question whether I have made the motivation of each of my main characters clear.

In my head I know why my characters behave the way they do and why events unfold in a certain chronology, but will my readers understand what the words I have written mean?  It’s important that I ensure that the motivations are not so much overt but at least alluded to in the characters’ words and behaviour.

Deus ex machina

I may write mysteries but there’s a difference between hiding the clues within the telling of the story, and keeping them so secret that they’re invisible until they spring from the page like dei ex machina.

Hence the need for me, and of course other writers, to check on that motivation as objectively as possible.

Which on a linked tangent has led me to ask: why do I write?  Looking back over my fledgling career, I have always written so I could share the stories in my head.  However as for writing to earn thousands of pounds, that has never been an objective, although it would be nice to earn something in my retirement.

In addition writing helps me keep my MS at bay, helping me stay focused and occupied.  Yes there are days, like yesterday, when I struggle to get motivated to even leave my bed and write an email. Luckily that isn’t a problem every day, just some.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On the editing front I have other areas to address before an agent gets to read anything. I also need to address the ‘how do I get published?’ question, but that’s a topic for another blog perhaps.

In my online search about ‘Motivation’, I have found the following links on Characterisation helpful:

Various articles on Characters: http://blog.janicehardy.com/2011/01/developing-characters.html

Motivation and Motivational Issues: http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/motivation.shtml

Nailing Character Motivation: http://mojobot2000.livejournal.com/2636.html

Plus these Blogs have provided more food for ideas:

One writer’s character creation: http://jaylt.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/kim-lee-on-the-art-of-creating-characters/

A motive in many ways: http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/whats-the-worst-that-can-happen-your-characters-biggest-fear/

Improving female characters: http://impishidea.com/writing/how-not-to-write-female-characters