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The Usual Chaos

Last winter, as a blizzard approached, we planned to stay inside, all nice and cozy, and write.  (See How to Write a Book During a Blizzard for details of that fiasco.) Now, as Hurricane Irene nears, we have once again resolved to spend our time writing. This time, we had plenty of warning. We have already gone shopping, the lawn furniture is safely inside, batteries have been purchased, cell phones and laptops charged. Nothing left to do but plot, edit and write. Right?

Well, first we have to check our email because we won’t be able to do that once we lose power. And we’d better take a look at our Facebook page, too. Oh, look a new friend! And a few people have liked our new book trailer. Wait! That’s not the new one. Yes, it is. No, it’s not! Hmm. Maybe you’re right. We’d better upload the new one. (Upload, upload, upload, why is it taking so long?!)

Now Twitter. A bunch of new followers. Better follow back. Some mentions. (TY, TY, TY). A retweet! (TY!). Need to tweet about the new trailer. Hey, that’s a good one! Retweet! And some hurricane info. Retweet that, too. Start scrolling. Interesting… Yada, yada, yada, Hey, that one’s cool! Hmmm, let’s click on that link… Look, some new tweets have come in! Oops! Have we really been on for an hour?

Enough! We’re supposed to be writing. But wait! We haven’t written a blog this week! Can’t we just skip one week? Just once? No! (Horrified look.) Think of something. (Silence.) Well? (More silence.) Well… Umm… (Extended silence.) Are you sure we couldn’t just skip… NO!!

So here we sit writing a blog about how hard it is to find time to write. (Or how easy it is to be distracted from writing. Take your pick.) And now that we’ve finished, we are going to work on our next book.

Right after we take a nap.

The Seven Stages of Writing

1. Inspiration. You have a great idea for a book. You love it. You know everyone else will love it, too. You can’t wait to start writing. You begin to make notes. On your brown lunch bag. On napkins. On little sticky notes.

2. Frenzy. You start writing. Every spare moment, you’re at the computer. The words are flowing so freely, you can’t type fast enough. You write anywhere, any time you can. On your brown lunch bag. On napkins. On little sticky notes.

3. Doubt. The plot isn’t turning out exactly the way you thought it would. (Where is that sticky note with the great plot twist…?) The characters are, perhaps, not quite right. Maybe the pacing is too slow? Perhaps the ending is a bit predictable? Perhaps… maybe…

4. Anger. Oh, crap. This plot problem is insurmountable. You can’t figure out how to end the chapter you are working on. You’re over your word count. Your characters just aren’t behaving. Your sticky notes are wadded into a giant sticky note ball. Banging your head on the desk doesn’t help.

5. Exhaustion. You feel this damn book will never be finished. You type grimly with fingers made of lead. Each word is drawn slowly and painfully from your beleaguered brain. You know you will never have another creative idea as long as you live. The sticky note ball is in the trash.

6. Acceptance. It’s done. You sigh with the relief of a mother who has just given birth. You even retrieve the sticky note ball from the trash and untangle the pages. After all, you never know. You drift off peacefully to sleep. And dream…

7. Déjà vu. See stage one.

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