Tag Archives: writers block

writing in slo-mo

writing and ruminating

“Give yourself time for your subconscious to work…Make lists of every solution to the problem that you can think of. Even if you don’t come up with a solution on your list, it’s a warm up for your head, and you might think of it later (while in the shower or on a walk, etc.).” – Gennifer Choldenko {I found this wonderful quote posted here while reading about the 14-week novel project. Another post for another day)

I really think I’m going to try this. My YA “DANGER” Novel is nowhere near finished and I feel I keep rushing myself. But, when I rush in plotting, writing, not only is it crap (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but I get bored and frustrated with the story. I’m forcing it, and forcing my characters to do things – like smashing Barbie dolls together to make them kiss, even though they may not even like each other.

So, to Ponder, Brainstorm, Make Lists. (I LOVE lists!!) This will also be a lesson for my control-freak nature. What helps you solve the problems in your writing?

Written to the beats of ANIMAL, Neon Trees

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Perseverance, procrastination

Some gems found on the web:

Found while randomly trolling the internet….

Any of these sites speak to you? Please share! I love to hear what my readers are thinking.

This blog post was written to the musical muse of: Chasing Cars /Snow Patrol



Filed under Uncategorized

Resurrecting Creativity

We officially passed the mid-point of the year (June 25) and my Year of Nurturing is still in progress… (what was your theme??)

So, I naturally gravitate to words like Zen, Spirit, Peace, Calm. I clicked on a link from Pinterest that had Zen and Writing in the title and landed in an article titled: Zen Power Writing” 15 Tips on How to Generate Ideas and Write with Ease. The blog post features tips mainly for article- and blog-writing, but I found this tip handy for my procrastination on my novel…

9. Leave end and beginning to the last. We can get stuck if we start at the beginning. The beginning is supposed to introduce the theme. But at the start of a writing project we may not know exactly what we’re going to say. So, it’s best to write the introduction later on. Once you have completed your first draft, it’s time to add an introduction and a conclusion. The intro can be short but it needs to say why your theme is important, or to outline the benefits that follow from reading your piece. The conclusion should tie it all together.

Do you procrastinate on any particular part of your writing? Beginnings? *raises hand* Middles? Ends? Editing? Querying? Maybe just sitting down with a vague and clichéd idea?

I’ve been struggling with resurrecting and developing my creativity since New Year’s Day, (2011 was filled with family and job drama, leaving me in an artist’s drought.)

I’ve made some false starts and some interesting, helpful discoveries. Wanna go on the ride with me? Come back tomorrow…

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Filed under Inspiration, procrastination, writers block, writing inspiration, Year of Nurturing

5 Prompt Friday

   5 writing prompts to jolt your mind and soul:

  1. The lady with the red umbrella stood at the corner again.
  2.  Bobby’s blanket still smelled of Johnson’s & Johnson’s.
  3.  For a complete examination, please complete this form.
  4.  When I talked about him, Jenna’s eyes lit up.
  5.  “Dear Jorge, I am breaking up with you. Please give back the prom ticket I bought. Michael needs to use it.”

What prompts can you share?


SUBSCRIBE! And the Muse Fairies will visit you at night….


Filed under 5 Prompt Friday, writers, Writing prompts

Help for Hump Day

I  had mini meltdown. You know, puffy- eyed crying, hiccupping sobs, woe is me mental state, everything- is- out- of- control, insurmountable, unavoidable, bad-sad-boohoo, BLECH!

I don’t know what brought it on, I haven’t been that blue for a while. Well, no, I do know what brought it on. My novel. My beast of a rough draft that I’ve been diligently revising for at least 2 months now. The whole first scene is a forced dialogue set up as a dream, which BTW editors HATE!, and the protag is just not appealing. So, I rewrote it. I rewrote it again. I changed the occupation of a minor character to beef up the tension of my M.C.’s main goal. This was good, moved me along nicely. But,  because my mind works in a linear fashion, I feel the need to write this way. However, the first scene still sucks. It just does. I need to start that part over. Sometimes, most of the time, a blank screen is easier to conquer than a page of sucky writing.

Well, maybe I was overtired, but putting that first scene/chapter to rest while I moved along with the rest of the revision put me over the edge. Suddenly, I was “not a writer; I was a fake, a phony, a poser.” Who am I kidding? And I TEACH?! Seriously? What do I have to offer? I’ll never be able to focus enough to get past this hurdle. I’ll never finish this book. Again with the boo-hoo-hoo’ing. My husband was getting concerned.

My lack of writing talent and confidence quickly streamed into the other hurdles in my life. My son’s emotional struggle with his newly diagnosed diabetes. My day job rotting away hours in a cubicle, my younger son growing up and not needing me as much anymore. Boo-freaking-hoo. It was bad.

OK, this is supposed to be help for hump day? No, just a sample of how we can get as writers, artists, moms. What do we do when that dark cloud settles on our shoulders and the lightening severs our rational thinking? We let it run its course. Sometimes, we need a good cry.

And the next day, we wake up, puffy eyes and all, to see the sun is shining and the fall weather is crisp and refreshing and we ARE writers, no matter what. And we will push through.

I keep an ongoing collection of motivating quotes. They help me. They might help you too. Leave a comment and/or tweet this post and let me know. I’ll email my collection of quotes to you for a blue day.


Filed under Advice, emotion, Perseverance, Rest


“So let your deepest desires direct your aim. Set your sights far above the ‘reasonable’ target. The power of purpose is profound only if you have a desire that stirs the heart.”

Price Pritchett, Author of You2

Let’s get real here. What does your writing time look like? Email checking for 10-15 minutes, Google Reader for another 30-40, Facebook and Twitter catch-up, about 45, not counting the links you click, the Youtube videos you watch. OK, how does all of  this relate to writing?

“Well, networking,” you say… honestly?

“Market research”…really?

“err, character studies?”…seriously?

Maybe, all this e-time is a way of dancing around the big flabby elephant in the room? Lack of focus – or better, lack of desire on the “direction” you think you should be heading. Maybe your writing has stalled because you’re not interested in the writing you are told to do. Told by the markets, by your writing friends, by your checkbook.

Now, ask yourself: what do I LOVE about writing? What about writing makes me come alive?

Some may answer – I love the research process – having a question and finding the answer through multiple sources and then adding my angle and sharing with others to educate or entertain.

Maybe you feed off of the latest trends in fashion, products, techy stuff or even celebrities. You talk and write with an up-to-the-minute urgency.

Perhaps people interest you: their plight, their achievements, their journeys. You have a knack for interviewing and pulling the emotion and true essence of a story out.

Or, like me, thinking, wondering what if? The process of  melting characters and situations together in a newly formed world gives you a pure adrenaline rush. Fiction is your drug, your “fix.”

OK, what do you do with this discovery (or re-discovery?) Don’t follow the path your fellow writing friends are on. If they say writing for ezines is where the exposure is, or the hottest articles now are on baby boomer topics, take a stand. Break free and take aim towards that path that makes you come alive – fills your belly with fire, makes your hands tremble to get the words out.

Turn off the internet. Go, write! Write in the direction of your heart. The words will flow again. I promise!


My aim? To write this blog for readers – many, many readers. Won’t you help me? Pls subscribe. Think of the children.


Filed under Believe, writers, writers block, writing inspiration

What I learned this week

I read a lot. A Lot! Mostly online websites, blogs, chat rooms and of course my fav. resource: Twitter.

Twitter is a quick way to see what’s happening now. I follow writers, editors, publishers, moms and other superheroes. Following these creative types gives me a steady flow of incoming links to helpful or inspiring on line articles and news.

And, here I share the links that I think are worthy of a read:

What did you learn this week?


Filed under Advice, writers, writers block, Writing prompts, Young Adults

“And by the way…”

“…everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”   ~Sylvia Plath

Huh. Sitting in the early morning quiet of my office, nerves rattled, creativity a small helpless ember in my belly, this quote truly resonates with me.

The beginning of the year brings new hope, faith, excitement. A clean slate. Though by February, most of us have slouched back to our “same ‘ol, same ‘ol.” Either out of comfort, habit or exhaustion.

This week, especially, has been an exhausting one for me. Coming off a birthday cake hangover from last weekend (my youngest turned 6!), I was sluggish, at best. Then, I had my meeting with Big Boss to discuss my 2010 objectives. (In the 9-5 world, I ‘m an executive assistant for a regional vice president. Not as glamorous as it sounds.) The tasks I could do in my sleep, were suddenly changing. And although being given bigger, more impactful responsibilities is flattering, I am striken with fear: so many reports to create and maintain, interactions with higher-up’s on a regular basis, the power of being first to review incoming resumes.

So, I try to think of another time when I was faced with a mountain of responsibility. Becoming a first-time mom would be the ultimate, but let’s take it down a notch. Teaching.

I had this brilliant idea to gather young writers and help them stay inspired, share their work and improve their craft. No idea how I was going to do this. But, still, I walked into the Downers Grove Library, pitched my idea to the Junior Room Coordinator and was off and running (more like scrambling, stumbling, fumbling.) How did I survive? I admitted this was new for me and sought help. I met with the Children’s Programming Director, hashed out ideas and since it was a non-paying volunteer position, I gave myself a little break. If all I do is help a middle schooler find a story spark, I’ve done good.

But it grew from there. I was asked to teach for pay through a local enrichment program. I gave a key-note speech to about 100 young girls on the benefits of journaling. I was even interviewed for a local cable TV show!

How? Did I finally relax and become comfortable with these new responsibilities? Not exactly.  I still freak out before starting another Super Saturday session with new young writers, preparing lesson plans and hand outs and narrowing the focus of the class’s objective.

But, again, I reach out for help. Whether talking “shop” with another writing teacher, checking in with my online writing buddies or just rambling to my enduring husband. And I journal. And I read. And I review the positive notes my students have sent me. All the “love” helps to extinguish that inner critic, the wavering confidence. Ultimately, I learn to gather info, put it through my filter and let it out into the world.

How do you handle self-doubt?

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Perseverance, teaching

Sometimes life just gets in the way

{photo courtesy of The Work Organizer.com}

{photo courtesy of The Work Organizer.com}

So sorry, readers, for not posting my series “what I learned this week” on Friday.  I actually have about a word doc page and a half of links and other juicy tidbits to share, but I’ll make this Friday (July 24) a double-feature!

What prevents you from posting, or from writing in general? Last week was quite hellish on the day job. Reports due to the big boss, which needed data from several field associates, who were being less than cooperative in getting said data to me on time. And so it goes… Watching travel and entertainment expenses, researching the best long distance phone plans and inexpensive shipping options. Ugh! You don’t want to hear about this monotony, right? Such is the muck that gets my creativity stuck.

domo_screams_150My weekend, however uneventful, was pleasant in that I had a lot of time outdoors. With my two sons. Up and down a hill on bikes, spinning in a grassy field, staring at clouds. Even some indoor activities like creating animations on a Domo website. These are the things that refuel my creativity. What non-writing related activities fill your writing well?


Filed under Believe, Little Things, procrastination, Rest, writers block

Feeling doubtful?

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

~Sylvia Plath

Do you believe that everything in life is writable?

Our days and nights go by in a blur of appointments, errands and mundane conversations. So, how do we write about that?

Enter the creative mind.  When overwhelmed by “blah,” my favorite idea generator is to ask “What if?”

Depending on the monotony of the day, it may take a few rounds of “what if” to lure out the juicy ideas. Also, having a portable recorder comes in handy when I’m thinking angry thoughts while stuck in traffic (good time to bring out and verbally record  the twisted scenes for a novel.)

What do you do to break through the cluttering thoughts that stump your creativity?


Filed under Advice, writers block, Writing prompts