Midweek #ROW80 Check-In

Helloooooo September!  We are entering in our FINAL STRETCH.  3 weeks to go in Round 3.  Make ’em count!

And if you’re interested in sponsoring Round 4, dash me an email at kaitnolanwriter (at) gmail.com

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When Your Writing Needs A Shot of Something by Chris Kincaid

Two years ago in April, a co-worker thought we should run in a 5K on the Fourth of July. I had never run before in my life, but for some odd reason, I decided to add that to my bucket list. I bought a pair of shoes and took off running down my road each evening after work. Within a few weeks my left ankle was burning. I looked it up on-line and diagnosed myself with Achilles tendinitis. I bought some heel orthotics for my shoes, started doing some stretches and the pain settled down.

 

I took a year off, but as soon as I started running this past spring, that Achilles tendon started aching again. I bought not only new orthotics, but new shoes. That offered no relief. I asked a doctor who had a few more suggestions but I still got no relief. I kept running though; the ankle didn’t hurt when I was on it only when I tried to sleep at night.

 

Then one morning a month and a half ago, my right hip locked up on me. I could barely walk on it, much less run. I got some more exercises and started icing it. No relief. I talked to the doctor again as well as the physical therapist. I did what they said but still got no relief.

 

Do I accept my body telling me that I will never run again and that much of the time it will hurt just to walk? Or do I continue to fight it?

 

What do you do when you have writer’s block? Or no publishers will even look at your work? Or all you get is bad reviews? Or your computer crashes and you lose all of your work?

 

You take a break. You find a writing partner. You sign up for a course. You read something for fun. You write something for you and no one else. You invest in a new computer. You remember to back everything up when you are done for the day. You don’t quit.

 

The only thing I haven’t tried for the bursitis in my hip is a steroid injection. I’m not afraid of needles. I just don’t want to bother my doctor about this anymore. I don’t want to take that five minutes out of my work day. I want to give it just a little more time.

 

What about you and your writing? Have you really tried everything to give it a boast? Does it need a shot of something? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t be afraid to turn to the professionals.

 

Maybe today is the day I ask for help from the professionals.

~*~

Chris Kincaid

Sunday #ROW80 Check-In

I am not at all sorry to be saying goodbye to August.  With the arrival of September, that means fall AND FOOTBALL are right around the corner (sue me, I’m in the SEC…we take this seriously).   It also means we’re entering the final stretch for Round 3.  Some of you may be thinking about Round 4 and NaNo prep.  That’s cool.  But don’t forget to keep some focus on those current goals!

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Midweek #ROW80 Check-In

The mercury hasn’t dropped much, but fall is COMING.  Smell the scent of freshly sharpened pencils…  Do kids even still have real wooden pencils these days?  I know this time of year, I always have to fight the urge to buy a whole passel of new school supplies and notebooks.  I have a SERIOUS weakness for notebooks.  Do you have favorite “manual” tools for getting your plot or prose down?

 

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The 3 Biggest Stumbling Blocks for Writers by Kristen Brockmeyer

We’re all writers here, right? We adore the printed word, devour books and bleed ink. It is a privilege and an pleasure to sit down at our computers every day and create fantastic stories out of thin air. In fact, it’s downright magical. So why the hell does it sometimes feel like performing a DIY root canal minus painkillers and actual dentistry experience would be easier and more painless than facing down a blank page?

Call it writer’s block. Performance anxiety. Verbal constipation. There are several reasons we writers can freeze up at any given time. Here are a three of the biggest stumbling blocks (hence the ALL CAPS) and some ways to get around them:

1. PERFECTIONISM.

Don’t feel bad. Writers often battle perfectionism. But even the most complex, beautiful and bestselling works of literature all started from a first draft and, chances are, those drafts didn’t pop out on the page fully formed in brilliant perfection. If you grapple endlessly with sentence structure, imagery and spot-on characterization, it might take you a year to past that first paragraph. By scrutinizing every word that formulates on the page for strokes of genius, you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. As the bajillion-time bestselling romance author Nora Roberts said to me just last week when we met for decaf mochas at Starbucks, you can’t edit a blank page. Okay, fine, I read that on Google somewhere. But Nora’s right. Just focus on pounding out a first draft. That’s the most important thing.

2. FEAR OF SUCKING.

This is a common first-time writer’s problem. You compare every word you write to every other writer’s work you’ve ever read and often find yours lacking in a big way. But the fear of sucking is also a second- (and third-and fiftyith-) time writer’s problem. You achieved a miracle and created an awesome story once that some people liked and now you’re afraid you can’t do it again. Or you’re writing the third book in a trilogy and are scared it won’t measure up to the first two. When you start a new book, any previous successes become flukes. The solution? Embrace that fear. Your vulnerability will actually make you a better writer. Also, buy an inspirational cat poster to drive the point home if you must, but know that your voice is worthy of being heard and work through that fear to get to that all important first draft.

3. BRAIN EMPTY. WORDS ALL GONE.

Maybe this case of writer’s block is so severe that it feels like you used up your lifetime quota of words already, but, I promise, there are lots more in there. To jiggle them loose, try the oft-touted technique of just typing gibberish until something meaningful comes out. Sometimes the very act of putting stuff on paper or screen will jumpstart the creative process. Or, go do something different. Take a 15 minute walk. Fix yourself a snack. Go to the mall and people-watch, with a notebook to jot down impressions. Watch a movie. Read a couple chapters out of a non-fiction book or fiction outside your genre. Crochet dog sweaters for your local Hairless Chihuahua Rescue, if that’s your thing. But keep your inspirational side trips on a time limit and always come back to the page.

In summary? Every case of writer’s block is treatable. Just don’t strive for perfectly perfect perfectness yet (unless you’re in editing purgatory, but that’s a worry for another day). Always remember that you’re good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, people will like your books. Just keep that creative well full, repeatedly apply butt to chair, fingers to keys, pen to paper, and the words will come back.

~*~

Kristen Brockmeyer

Sunday #ROW80 Check-In

After what has felt like an endless summer, we are finally headed toward fall.  Maybe not with temps yet, but it’s getting dark when I get up in the morning, and that usually means reasonable temperatures are just around the corner (relatively speaking).  School is back in session, and we’ve got to find our NEW GROOVE.  How’s that going for you?

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