Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's a Love / Hate Thing

Don't get me wrong. I love my WIP. I'm attached to my characters. They're like my fictitious wayward children that I must shepherd to their happy ending. Except sometimes I lack the oomph, the spark if you will, that existed when I first began their tale.

Is this what you call stalling? Burning out? I know where the story needs to go (for the most part), but sitting down to write it sometimes feels like work. Yes, writing is work, I know, but I find myself procrastinating more often than actually writing, and that makes me sad.

So far, I've written a couple of short stories, which seem to flex the old writerly muscles, and I've finished up a writing course and signed up for more. Then, sometimes I feel guilty for those endeavors, like my characters are standing around, tapping their feet, hands on their hips, yelling, "Hey! What about us?"

I did manage to write a whole chapter yesterday, which got my gears turning. I am determined to get this draft finished so I can go back and really make it shine. Except, I may need a few diversions between now and then. That's just how I roll, I guess.

Do you ever reach that point where the writing feels too much like work? What do you do when that happens?


  1. I've been there, a lot, you have my sympathy ^_^

    I walk away for a little bit. I let my characters pout and promise they'll be happier if they're patient. Occasionally I'll poke the story - kind of like what you did when you wrote that chapter. It's similar to seeing if the custard is done baking. Shake the pan and if it wiggles, it's not time to go back yet. If you can write that chapter and want to write more and more, then it's time to go back.

    But I know a lot of people say to just push through it so...(I'm not one of those).

  2. Mysti -

    I've written a couple dozen short stories, and have a stack of rejections. Eventually, I gave up. I do have other creative outlets, though, and scratch my writing itch with my blogs.

    I think when writing feels like work, the thing to do is -- get to work. It depends on ow important your writing is to you

    I understand how you feel about your characters. Every one of them carries a little piece of your soul. Congrats on your book! That's a great milestone.

    The opportunity I refer to in my Haiku is a writing project.

    Follow your heart.

  3. Hi Mysti - I saw on Jenn's blog that you have a new book out .. I presume that's A Ranger's Tale? How exciting and congratulations!


  4. Thanks very much! I guess I'll take breaks as needed. I must submit to the bug's (the writing bug, that is) direction :)

  5. I do the short story thing. Honestly though, since I am still on my first novel, I haven't had many times that I don't want to be doing something to it. I use the short stories as a way to pull myself away from TPtP and let it rest between drafts. (And wait for more crits to come in!)


  6. I often hit that road block. I find doing some writing exercises using the characters helps me find a new thread of motivation. Things like, where would they get their clothes from, what hat would they pick, what's one possession that means the world to them and what is it's secret significance and how can their fear become a tool? Then I usually discover something about my character and become re-motivated.
    Good luck :-)

  7. I've been using this latest writing class to explore scenes for my WIP. It really did help flesh out some things. I think that's a great idea--short assignments with them. Like taking them on a field trip :)

  8. Writing does sometimes feel like too much work, but if my mind starts to stray while I sit in front of the computer, Leigh yells at me to focus.

  9. Well, I've hit different kinds of blocks like that. I've got a couple of unfinished WIPs that I've set aside for now because I felt that my inner resistance (a.k.a. loss of motivation, or feeling like work) was a sign that this piece was simply not ready to be written yet.

    For the one novel I finished, my way out of the doldrums was to have several coal faces active at any one time. When I hit a roadblock with one chapter, I'd cast ahead for something that caught my interest and start on a new section of the story. Then I'd go back and fill in the gaps when I'd had time to mull over what I was trying to say.

  10. Hi Mysti!!
    Thanks for visiting my blog! We'll stalk each other ;)

    I absolutely hit those creative walls sometimes - in fact one lasted almost two years!! Now I realize that even when writing feels like a chore, if I make myself start writing, before long I'm caught up in it and loving it again.

    Good luck with your WIP and if you ever need anyone to look it over, give me a holler!

  11. Thanks Amy! I'm feeling the gears turn but won't have much time this weekend :( At least the bug is trying to fly again.

  12. Hey Mysti!
    Late, as usual lately. What will I do? :-S
    Anyway, to answer the main question - oh, yes, I do have a love-hate relationship with my WIP. And when I'm fed up with what I'm currently writing,, start writing the next volumes in my head. Yup, I'm deadly in love with my characters, so I never- ever get tired of them. If I do, I throw out another challenge and see how they work with it.
    I probably do that because I couldn't write a short story to save my life :p

  13. Great Steph! I've gotten some good vibes flowing when I stick my characters in scenes for assignments in my writing classes. I just have to finish their story or it will gnaw at me. :)


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