Reclaiming the Creative Drive IWSG

Finding the will to write

This is my post for The Insecure Writers Support Group: a monthly blog hop therapy group for writers.

(If you’re here for my writing lessons and have no need for this warm-fuzzy-feeling stuff, I’ll see you on Friday.)

The awesome co-hosts for the April 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!

If you’d like to sign up, click here

April 4 question – When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

What I do when I get into a writing funk

(Well, after the coffee, the chocolate, and moping around the house for days.)

My road to recovery in three steps:

1. Reread my first novel

reclaiming your creative drive-www.themanuscriptshredder.com

“Oh, wow, was I an awful writer.” The painful writing that is my first novel never grows stale. It’s a master class in telling, bizarrely constructed sentences, (random comma, anyone?) and not to mention a head-hopping nightmare. All this coated in a thick layer of beyond-epic dialogue. All ye Lords and Ladies take heed!

Aside from a few good laughs, the real purpose of rereading this nonsense is to remind myself of how much progress I have made as a writer since that first NaNoWriMo. Writing can be a long lonely road where you are constantly huddling into a corner and quietly comparing your work to other writers while making silent bargains with the devil to be half as good as… But revisiting my old manuscripts reminds me that my former self would have given anything to be as good as I am now, and while I still have a long way to go, I am making progress.

2. Edit other people’s stuff (no, not for the reason you think)

If I’m being completely honest, I’m a better editor than a writer. I also feel more passionate about editing. Taking apart stories, cutting them down to their essence, and rebuilding them stronger is my zone. Nothing makes me happier than when an author tells me, “Oh, that makes so much sense. Thank you.” Editing gives me the boost I need to tackle my own projects.

3. Read for inspiration

Nothing helps me rekindle the creative spark like reading my favorite genre (YA fantasy). Seeing new places, meeting new characters, and hearing new ideas. This is what gets my wheels turning again. Many of my ideas are inspired by other stories: side characters who deserve their own narrative or a scenario that could have had an alternative outcome. This is why I love fantasy. Alternative worlds contain endless possibilities.

Reading reminds me why I write: my love for stories.

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18 thoughts on “Reclaiming the Creative Drive IWSG”

  1. I have an accountability partner. We meet twice a month online and review previous goals and make new ones. I’m sure she wouldn’t be too upset if I didn’t make my goals, but the pressure is on!

  2. Reading books helps me. My writing buddy helps me too. It’s hard to find a great friend to stick with it, with you, but it also helps you feel like you’re not alone. Happy IWSG day 🙂

  3. I decided to rewrite my first novel — the one I wrote as a teenager! — for a competition with a deadline later this year. It has all the elements needed for this competition. I read it and wept as I laughed at the melodrama. But after an exhausting month of pulling it apart and adding an actual plot, I think I’m ready to rewrite it. You’re right: looking at that first novel definitely chases away the doubt 🙂
    Great post.

  4. True for me too. When I’m stalled, usually it’s because I’ve bumbled my story’s logic. Evaluating another writer’s work sharpens my critical eye. (Great critique partners are gold.)

  5. My first book. The first half is edited and pleasant to read; The second half is a disaster that no one should ever look at. 🙂 I think your Gravatar needs to be relinked to your website, because it’s coming up as a dead link at the moment. 🙂

  6. Oh it’s so easy to see how to help other writers than to help ourselves find our own problems. Thanks for a good post. All best to you!

  7. I like reading other people’s books. I like editing too. But re-reading my old stuff doesn’t always work. The thing is: I keep wanting to edit it. That’s what I did when I worked on my short story collections. I re-edited all my older stories.

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