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Posts Tagged ‘Laura Drake’

Words on Wednesday- When the Words Won’t Come

In books, writing on February 12, 2014 at 8:58 am

Today’s post was inspired by a question asked on the facebook page of O.C. Writers. Yesterday, Ryan Stansifer asked the group, “When the rest of your life has drained you so badly the mere thought of writing is exhausting, what do you do to get those word counts done?”

It’s a simple question, but I had to seriously think about it. Not being able to get words on paper isn’t usually a problem for me, but as I told you a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been separated from my manuscript for so long, that I’ve had trouble getting back in touch with my characters.

Some writer’s take a break from their manuscript, and when you have been living in your book for too long, a break from your work can give you a fresh perspective. I’ve done this before, but this time…..a break is what caused the problem.

Writer’s with a deadline (or very disciplined writers) often force themselves to put their butt in their chair and put down a certain number of words. This is a great technique, sometimes it results in pages of ‘junk’, but even that can get you back in the flow, and you can always go back and cut or edit what you don’t like later.

One writer suggested working on a new project, a short story to get your creative juices flowing again and give you the satisfaction of completing something. I haven’t tried this technique yet, I never let myself stray from the project I’m on until it’s completed. I’m always afraid I won’t come back to finish. This could be the best advice for me, just because I’ve resisted it. You guys will make sure I finish my current novel if I go this way won’t you?

What I usually do, and this was the advice I shared with O.C. Writers, is read a good book. Preferably, one written by an author that I know personally. A good book always inspires me and makes me want to write. When it’s someone I know, it makes the possibility of having my own book published more real, more attainable, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have met some inspiring writers and have some great mentors on this journey.

But there is one thing I haven’t done, that just makes sense. I haven’t read my own manuscript through from cover to cover like a reader. I

thought this would be the first thing I did when I got back to work on my book, but the minute I picked up the manuscript I started line editing. Not my intent, but my reflex, I had to edit.

So, my goal today and tomorrow is to read my manuscript like a reader, not a writer. I’m going to download it to my kindle, so that I’m not tempted to edit, and read what I’ve written from cover to cover. I’ll let you know next Wednesday how this worked out.

Thank you Ryan Stansifer for asking the question, and O.C. Writers for all of the inspiration.

 

What do you do when you need a gentle push….or swift kick….to get yourself back on track?

Where are you from?

In contest, Life Essays, poetry, writing on August 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

So, I’m stealing this from author, Jenny Hansen at her blog  Cowbell-You Need More of It, who got the idea and template from author, Sharla Lovelace’s Blog, although it was shared by debut author, Laura Drake on The Morning Juice, an OCC RWA writing loop…and whether you love to write, or just love to read you should come to a meeting, it’s an amazing group….and don’t forget to go “like” Laura Drake’s new facebook author page!!! (You all do know I’m the Queen of Run On Sentences right?) And by the way, there is a much longer chain of sharing. If you google ‘Where I am From’, you will find lots of links to this popular writing exercise, which came from a poem by George Ella Lyon. You’ll find a copy of the template at Sharla’s blog. It’s so easy to use…it’s like a poetry Mad Libs.

I love this exercise, and I challenge all of my readers, friends and family…..writer’s and non writer’s to do it…and please share it with me if you do. If you’re willing, I’ll post those that people share right here. In fact, let’s make it a contest! Everyone who does the exercise and posts it or sends it to me so I can post it will be entered in a random drawing for an autographed book from one of my favorite authors! And everyone who leaves a comment on this post….or any of the posts where I share your “Where are you from?” entries  between August 23, 2012 and September 15, 2012  will be entered in a random drawing for another autographed book. I’ll announce the winners on Monday, September 17th, 2012 and the winner must respond and send me their mailing address by September 30th,  2012 or a new winner will be selected. Winner must live in the United States.

Go to Jenny and Sharla’s pages for some inspiration.

So here’s my poem:

Where I’m From

I am from stacks of books from Kool Aid and grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries and ice cold Cokes at the Newberry’s lunch counter.

I am from the harvest gold, 1970’s tri-level house, with a gas lamp by the sidewalk outside my bedroom window that I used to sneak and read books from, no fences, no sidewalks and a gravel road.

I am from the damp sand and cool ocean breezes along the pacific, that make you forget the traffic and chaos, the golden Ohio cornfields, that symbolize what is real and wholesome .

I am from  sweet sugar cookie baking with old tin cookie cutters and Rose, from Bud (yes that’s Rosebud) and two younger brothers that I played with, fought with read to and learned from and from a family that can trace it’s roots in America to the Revolutionary War.

 

I am from the deep stubbornness of never giving up and the gentleness of holding a tiny baby in your arms and seeing hope for the future.

From ‘”Wait ‘til your father gets home” and “Don’t make me spank you”….and he only did once, and it really did “hurt him more than it hurt me” although I cried buckets of tears.

I am from small town Sunday school, Summer Bible Camp at various protestant churches in a small Amish/Mennonite town, Baptist Church with my high school boyfriend, my best Sunday dress and traditional hymns….”Jesus loves me”.

I’m from Los Angeles, tacos and sushi, yes I am a native, and from Uniontown, Ohio, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, Christmas tamale’s that we make with our aunts, uncles and cousins because it wouldn’t be Christmas without them, and really it’s just another excuse to get together, because we don’t do it often enough.

From the feisty, sign painter for Food Giant,  writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, mother of 13, Milly, who made all my dresses for kindergarten on her treadle sewing machine, stood just  5’2” with blonde hair, blue eyes, and you didn’t want to mess with her, but you did want to stand on a chair and wait for donut holes while she fried fresh donuts (do you see any resemblance there?) and Maclovia, who changed her name to Maxine, sang in nightclubs until she met a magician and had 6 children, taught me to embroider by hand, and finally went to Israel as she always dreamed. And from my Tia Tonia, who was like a third grandmother to me and refused to teach me to make her delicious homemade tortillas because if I knew how “someday, some man would make me make them every day” and she loved me too much for that. But, every time I eat a fresh tortilla I wish she’d taught me to make them.

I am from albums, walls and mantel tops (even computer files) of photographs, some fading, faster than I can scan them into my computer, from shoe boxes with one grandmother’s old eyeglasses and a copper bracelet, and the antique butter dishes from another, the tea set my mother pieced together as a young bride, the tea set my mother gave me as a child…the tea set she gave me just five years ago, that I always say I’m going to use, but never do because I’m afraid to break them…even though there are some chips here and there from life. But, now I’m going to plan a tea party with my favorite women because what good are tea sets you don’t use?

Now, I hope you’ll tell me……where are you from?