Writers Block Vs Forced Writing

Bangs Head on Desk by Tolan88 @ deviantart

Depression has really knocked my writing, and it is 8 months since I wrote anything of substance.  I have edited, but not written.

And I know that there are probably some people out there who are just thinking – “writers block”.

And I might have agreed with them, up until two months ago.

I have been writing, rather piecemeal, little bits on this story, a chapter on that story, back to the first story, but nothing really feels right.  Instead I feel like I am forcing myself to write.  This isn’t writers block.  Writers block is where you can’t write!  I can, I just don’t like it.

I know this makes more sense to me than it probably does to you, but I will try and simplify it down for you.

Everyone knows what Writers Block is – right?  (For those that don’t, Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. (Thanks Wikipedia))

I can write.  I can write new stuff, it just doesn’t feel right, or sit with what I am doing.  I have days where I want to write, and will do so happily, but if I try too hard, it doesn’t seem right.  I still keep it though, because it might come in handy!

So my problem really is, that the urge to write just doesn’t happen as frequently as I would like, and that is frustrating the hell out of me.  I want to write, but when I sit at my laptop, unless I am really in the space and groove, writing is forced and doesn’t come out the way I want it to.

Maybe I am being too perfectionist about my writing?  But then I seem to feel rather down and flat if I force myself to do something I don’t want to do, so why force myself to write something that isn’t coming together for me.

I feel better for getting this out into the blogosphere, and I am slowly picking up the pieces.  Tonight I have actually done some research on Blood Gold, copying old Newspaper articles in the hopes that something might come of it.

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Notebookaholic

I mentioned some time ago that I purchased a new notebook and I was in love with it.  Since then I have purchased another.  And while it isn’t love at first sight, it was love.

You see I have this problem.  I have way too many notebooks, but I can’t stop buying them.  And they do get used!  Its not like I buy them and discard them, unwritten in.  In fact I often write lots of stuff in my notebooks.  This is my current “collection” although it is not complete, there are still others that were floating around and could not be located in time to do this photoshoot.

My notebook "collection"

The little red one at the bottom, is in my handbag.  I keep notes for what I am supposed to do in town in that one.  It is getting a little thin from the cull of used pages I do every now and again.  But this one came to Fiji with me.

The small blue marbig one (and I have an orange one too) are my story ideas notebooks.  Small enough to fit in my handbag, beside my bed, on the computer desk etc, this is where I jot down the formings of ideas, or single words that I have heard, read or liked.

The big dark pink Marbig notebook (and I have a blue one too) has a pocket on the front, and is handy to take when I am researching.  Any slips of paper I accumulate, or anything fascinating can go in the pocket, while the rest of the book is capable of notes.  This pink one has my Blood Gold notes and research data in it.

The punk notebook just had to be used for my Gothic Novel, the cover was inspiring on its own, but didn’t really lend itself to the story.  There is still plenty of space in this little honey for more gothic ideas and inspirations, and I could actually see this being my vampire story book too… mmmm

The Tartan notebook, this is the one I am in love with.  The tartan isn’t particularly pretty, but I love all things Scottish (guess it is the ancestry) and this was just one of those things I couldn’t resist.  This is where my new story idea is going.  I can’t go into details here and now, but this is the next one that I will be filling with research and story ideas.

The last notebook I want to talk about is one that I purchased at the same time as my tartan notebook.  It is the “Smart Eye” covered book (and yes there is an image, but there is something wrong with the printing!)  This is going to be a special book.  Often I see pictures that inspire me, but I don’t often do anything about it.  This is a type of photograph book, so I intend to use this as a sight book rather than note book.  I will put pictures and objects in this book that will visually inspire me, whether it is a sunset picture, or a downloaded photo off the internet.  This will be slightly different from any of my other books, but something I am actually quite excited about.  It doesn’t have to be photos, a drawing, a perfume sample card, a cartoon, a piece of fabric, lace, ribbon, something other than words.

So there you go.  I AM a notebookaholic and proud of it!

A Big Lesson Learned

You hear about it all the time.  Someone forgets to back up and the system crashes, and you lose everything you have been working on.  It happens.

And it just happened to me.

My laptop is a present from my Dad and was my Aunty Jill’s who died of cancer a few years ago.  It is one of the few links I have to my Aunty and I am always appreciative to my Dad for giving it to me.  I have personalised it with a cover sticker of roses.  The battery doesn’t work, so I have to always have it plugged into the mains.  It is an old machine, but it is mine, and it is special to me.

My beloved laptop died.  When I tried to turn it on this morning, it kept telling me that there was an error and needed to restart, and restart, and restart… I couldn’t get onto the c drive to recover my documents, it kept telling me there were errors.  So I bit the bullet and reinstalled Windows XP.

Well the computer lives (thank goodness), but everything except what is on my memory stick is lost.  Thankfully I have some stories up to date, but I have lost approximately 20k off Blood Gold and about 5k off my Gothic Novel.  But that is OK.  They are only words and can be replaced.  I think I am more gutted about the Gothic Novel because I had been studiously working on that one, trying to get it to a finished enough level to get it out to readers by the end of September… oh well.

Big Lesson learned – back up every night before turning the laptop off!

Maniacal Story Telling

Sickness has really been getting me down, to the point where I haven’t really felt like writing, which is hard because I am in the middle of The End is Nigh challenge over at KiwiWriters.

The story I am working on is historical, but it is quite hard to fill in the gaps.  There is a lot of information about the characters and the events, but coming up with a personality for the character and how that is portrayed has been really hard.

Today I plateaued.  And I am happy about that.  The murder has been written.  Now it is all down hill from here.  This is where they escape back to Nelson, spend up large and get caught.  The murder has been the hardest part to write, and while I have only put the bones of it in, I don’t know if I can really do it justice.  Most of the information has come from two of the criminals, and it is conflicting, but from the point of view I am working from, I think I have it sorted out.

I think from now on, it won’t be quite such a struggle to write.  Even the court scenes, which are very dry.  I think I will have the start of the court appearances, the arrogance of the crims and the pomp and ceremony, but then skip to the verdict, only because I don’t want half of the book to be bogged down with the legal arguments and the countless number of witnesses who were able to place one of the men at a certain place at a certain time.

I was also going to have a perspective from an outside point of view, but I really haven’t pursued this, and to be honest, this stage of the story, I don’t know if I could do justice to a second part of the story.

I do have a nice little twist up my sleeve, which would bring the second point of view in nicely at the end, but don’t know if I can really make him fit comfortably into the story.  But I haven’t given up on him altogether – my reporter.  I just need to find something that will change him by the end of the story.  I have had some suggestions, but they don’t quite seem to gel with the character.  Some more thought is required I guess.

This post wasn’t going to be about my historical novel!  It was going to be about how I have struggled to write it, but I am happy with where I am at, and I guess I needed to put down a positive after some many negative days.

Back to the Grindstone

Now that SoCNoC 2011 is over, it is time to get back into my normal writing routine.  Not that it is normal, but at least getting back into something that resembles a scheduled time each day to allow for writing.

And this week it starts.

I have two novels that need editing, a story that needs to be written and a story now sitting on the backburner, but still requires some thought.

Each day I am going to spend some time editing both stories.  One is quick and easy to edit (KQ&N) while the other is a little bit more labourious (Bloody Gothic Novel), so I will split them up, so I don’t feel I am doing the editing drag too much!

I will also spend some time working on Blood Gold, because I really want to get this story done.  At the moment I seem to be bogged down with court details, so I might need to just step back from that part and start working on the actual story instead.  I still need to find out about what printing presses were used in 1850’s NZ – if anyone out there does know, please let me know.

I also want to brainstorm my latest story, the Ice Planet because at present it is 51k, and I really want it to be 65 – 75k, so need to add some more tension and excitement into the mix.  Just how, I am not too sure, but I will think of something, especially if I brainstorm regularly every day.

There is also another novel that I put to one side ages ago, it is a series of short stories all linked together, so I might just resurrect that and work on one of the stories at a time, because it was a deep and meaningful kind of story and I would like to tell it.  But short stories aren’t my forte.  If I can get some feedback on these stories, then I can work at putting that novel together too.

I found a publisher the other day, which would fit in with my style of writing, so I guess the big push on editing is so that I can get something submitted to them.  All going well, perhaps by October or November I will have at least one of my novels ready!

And I haven’t forgotten about Medusa.  I need to work on this one, as it is a character based story, and I need to work on this before it will be ready, but I haven’t given up on it, so never fear my fellow and supportive writers.