Tuesday, June 28, 2011

State of Blah...

Have you ever lost touch with yourself? With your writing?  The past few weeks, I've been in what I call a state of disenchantment.  I've got some stressors in my personal life, the day job is mentally challenging, I'm doubting my abilities as an editor, and the current manuscript I'm working on has been nothing but a struggle to complete.  All this combined put me in a major state of disenchantment. Basically, the ability to care shot out the window. 

Now I realize this is not the most productive thinking.  Honestly, how can I expect to anywhere with my writing when I don't care anymore?  And who would want to read something written by someone who doesn't care? Definitely not me.  The question is, how does a person get out of this funk?  This is what worked for me.

I picked up the phone and called my BFF, who has been where I am, and flooded her ears with the woes I tend to bottle up.  I got it all out in the open and off my chest. She let me cry on her shoulder, told me she loved me, and then kicked me in the butt and told me to get back to work. Talking through my issues with her helped. I wasn't so alone anymore. 

After I got the personal stuff out of the way, I revisited the problem manuscript. Why wasn't I in love with these characters? Why weren't they behaving the way I thought they should?  First, I figured out that the model I was using for the hero was too sweet. I've used him as inspiration for several of my sweet stories, and he needed to change. So I found a model who could be a bit more edgy, more raunchy if he needed to be, and BAM! My hero clicked.  So, on to the heroine. What was her deal? I knew I wanted her to be spunky, a bit of a control freak.  Now, my friend has said when she reads my stuff she can hear my voice in the work.  My voice was nowhere near this story. So heroine, while somewhat spunky, just didn't cut it.  I searched deep within to find out how I would act in the situation she was in.  Her problem, it seemed, was she was too perfect. She didn't have a flaw. She wanted to do something and it was done. If I wanted to do the same thing, I would trip over my own feet, knock a lamp off the table... you get the picture.

My point... We all go through slumps. We all have days when writing is the most painful experience in the world. Some have difficulties getting out of the slumps and give up all together.  My advice is this:  Step away.  When your story is fighting you, step away for a few days and work on something else.  Allow the story to process in the back of your mind. When you get back to it, you will have fresh eyes and will think more clearly.

I am not alone in my struggles. And neither are you.


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karen said...
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