Avoiding “Crash and Burn”

Ok, Ok…

I have realized that Superwoman I am not. Hehehe…the Inspired & Independent Book Club is reading a book titled Chasing Superwoman. It is a memoir and details the author’s realization that she had been trying to be Superwoman — lawyer, mother of 3, wife, Sunday School teacher, and the list goes on.

Today, as I realized that I haven’t written a blog post since last week, was the day I decided to stop trying to be Superwoman too. There is a need within myself to get my book written. CampNaNo has been the fire I have needed lit under my feet to get moving on the manuscript and stop procrastinating more than writing. I have been dedicated and diligent in the process and have been enjoying the new found focus on this manuscript.

That said, I am going to have to curb some of my other online activities…at least while I am working on the first draft. Once I get the words out of my head and heart and onto the page, then I can return to a more full online life. So that means instead of posting 5 days a week, I will have to cut down to one post a week. There will still be the monthly Saturday Shorts, but by the next time that is due I hope to have completed my first draft. I am also sure that there will be additional postings some weeks — I can never tell when something hits me that I need to share on the blog.

The Book Club will continue in full force without any changes. As a writer, I am constantly reading anyway. Hosting the Book Club hasn’t significantly impacted my writing, so I will leave that as is.

Now that I have spoken that into the universe, you know I will figure out a way to post more often…

I will be posting a new post each Wednesday. Be prepared — it could be long LOL! I am a writer after all and I love words, but not being able to post but one day a week may leave me with a short story load of information to share…

Off to write more in my manuscript… You may get a second post today. This one is more of an announcement than information, and I can’t have that!

Advertisements

Return from Temporary Hibernation

I went into hibernation over the last couple of days. I had to…I was nearly 10,000 words behind on the CampNaNo challenge. It is important to me that I win CampNaNo, especially this being my first year participating. What is most important, though, is that I get my manuscript completed. CampNaNo is just the challenge I need to get this book written.

Over the last few days I have been writing. Not so much during the week — just bits and pieces. There’s something about a writer when they prepare to write: life seems to get in the way. Everything that life could throw at me came hurling past me. Anything that would distract me or cause me to procrastinate became a roadblock in my path to 15,003 words — the total word count needed by yesterday in order to be on track.

I am happy to announce, however, that I met and surpassed yesterday’s word count total goal! 1,667 multiplied 9 times gives you 15,003 (yesterday was the 9th day of the month). The CampNaNo Word Validator has validated my total word count at 15,677!!! That’s 674 words more then needed to reach yesterday’s goal, leaving me with only 993 words to complete today and stay on target to reach 50,000 words by the last day of June! Best yet, I really feel good about my manuscript. I am not taking these 30 days to dump garbage onto the page just to say I won CampNaNo. I am putting the time and effort that any serious writer would put into a first draft. It is coming along nicely, if I may say so myself…

I have found that once I put butt in chair and get to writing, the words have come flowing easily. There’s no writer’s block, nor do I find myself struggling to get a paragraph down. This is the first draft and therefore I don’t expect it to be perfect. My method for moving through the pages:

  1. Write without editing. I know you’ve heard this before.
  2. Each day when I prepare to write, I re-read the previous day’s writing for content only. This will get the creativity flowing in my mind so I can continue where I left off. I do not re-read the entire manuscript. That will have me wanting to edit and it is not time for editing yet.
  3. I keep writing nonstop and try not to pay attention to my word count. I don’t want to create a habit of only writing until I reach the day’s word count goal. So I ignore my word count and just write until I am ready to stop. It is then that I verify my count — if I have enough words I stop, if not I plug along some more so that I can keep up with the daily word count. EXAMPLE: I was using Microsoft Word yesterday when I was writing. It keeps a running word count total for you at the bottom of the screen. I knew exactly when I reached the 15,003 words needed but I hadn’t completed writing out my thoughts when I hit my target. So I kept writing until that thought was completely written out. I ended up with an extra 674 words by continuing to the end of the thought…
  4. I also print my manuscript when I go to read it. This serves two purposes for me: a) it takes stress off of my eyes from reading a computer screen for too many back-to-back hours, and 2) it gives me a “legacy” of the writing that went into that particular manuscript. The manuscript is printed on hole-punched paper, and then is added to a notebook with the prior’s day printout. When the manuscript has been completed, I will have a keepsake so to speak of the various iterations the manuscript went through over the course of time to “The End.”

It may be a little hokey to retain the various drafts of the manuscript along the way, but I am a keepsake kind of person. I have an avid scrapbooking/paper crafting hobby complete with a scrapbook shop for folks to come hang out and create with me. If you know anything about scrapbookers, you know that they don’t let one iota of “scrap” paper pass through their hands without salvaging it for one project or another. To toss my printed manuscript would be to toss an unimaginable amount of scrap paper and I couldn’t have that now could I? I foresee myself turning my manuscript draft pages into beautiful art journals commemorating their journey to publication. That would be a wonderful way to honor the draft pages while retaining a beautiful keepsake that is not only the original manuscript, but also a beautiful piece of art.

I am excited now to complete my manuscript! Now I’ve got a wonderful new idea to further the publishing experience for myself and make it a beautiful and lasting memory. I will share the transformation of the draft pages into a beautiful art journal once I get to that stage. For now, I need to concentrate on getting at least 1,667 words down on the page each day. Light duty on this Sunday thanks to yesterday’s marathon writing session…

Time to share…
What do you do with your printed manuscript pages? Do you retain them for posterity once the manuscript has been completed? Do you toss them in order to prevent clutter or for other reasons? Will you now create beautiful masterpieces with them now that I’ve thrown that idea out into the world? Share with us what you have done or what you are planning on doing with your printed draft pages.

Burn Out!

WOW! Never thought it would happen to me, but it did! Burn out!! Not from writing  —  from   L-I-F-E…

No, I’m not being suicidal. I’m being tired! Full time job outside of the house, full time writing career, full time mother, full time wife, owner of 2 small businesses, writing for 4 or 5 different blogs (I’ve lost count LOL!)… Does it ever end??? Whew! I need a vacation and FAST!

In all honesty, I do this to myself all the time. I have a disease that doesn’t allow my mouth to say “no” and doesn’t allow my mind to ever close from its creative activities. There is always some idea that comes to mind that will help me in my life. But with a new idea always comes new tasks to add to an already too full plate.

And it’s CampNaNo June, which I am determined to win. I think that is what is really making me feel burned out. The pressure of writing 50,000 words in a month. Now, I am absolutely certain that I write 50k words in a month with no problem. No doubt about it. I have to — writing for several blogs, working on my manuscripts, and writing poetry. But the pressure that is on now is writing 50k words in one manuscript all in one month’s time. Yeah I write 50k words in a month, but never on one subject or in one manuscript…

Burn out.

I know it’s from sheer overwhelm. I work at my peak when I have too many tasks on my plate. My subconscious mind, however, keeps reminding me that I am 2 days and 505 words behind not counting the words for today. The day is still young so I can’t count that as “behind” unless I don’t write any more today. That puts me at 3,839 words behind. But what makes it worse is that I am at a particularly difficult part of the manuscript. It’s a memoir, so in this section I am talking a lot about my mother and father who are both deceased. The memories are good ones, but the fact that they are no longer here is what’s making the writing difficult. I am nearly 4,000 words behind! I don’t need this kind of difficulty in writing right now…

So, what do I do to circumvent this burn out? I wrote 1,162 words this morning and then ended the chapter. Those 1,162 words are what made me less than 3 days behind. I couldn’t bare to write any more about mom and dad…not right now. It was making the writing laborious. This is the very first, clunky draft anyway. I can always go back during the editing phase and add in whatever I need to enhance that chapter. If I continued to try writing in that chapter today, I would not get any writing done.

I have read many authors who do the same thing. Either finish the chapter off quickly, knowing they have to edit the manuscript anyway, or start writing a different scene or section of the book and come back to the difficult writing later. Because I am a pantser, there’s no way I can write a different scene or section and come back. I haven’t done any planning or outlining so I don’t know what the future scenes and sections will hold. I could always have gone off and worked on some poetry or maybe one of my other manuscripts; but I know me, I would never get back to writing this one… For the next 24 days I need to stay focused on writing this one manuscript. I want to win CampNaNo and I want to have a completed, clunky first draft in my grubby little paws by June 30th. If I don’t stick to deadlines, I will never get this book written and published!

Some writers take a break from writing when they hit a difficult patch, either by writing something else or walking away from writing altogether. Oooo, that would be a book killer for me! I would never want to return to writing that manuscript knowing where in the manuscript I had left off. Walking away at the difficult part for me would ensure that I would never return to finish writing. And I definitely would not return from writing something else, something less emotional. However, some authors have what it takes to walk away and come back later. I just am not cut from that part of the cloth…

Whatever you do, as always, you need to keep writing!

Time to share…
What do you do when you are burned out from so much going on, including your writing? How does writing sensitive passages affect your writing ability? What do you do when burn out begins to sabotage your writing practice? 

Syndication! YES!!

Thank goodness today is Friday! I’ve been holding onto this news all week…

The W.I.N. at Writing blog has been syndicated!!! I was approached last week by the Books Editor of Before It’s News, a web-based news portal that gets 10s of 1000s of visitors daily. The Books Editor asked if I would be willing to allow them to syndicate my blog and pull my feed for the Books section of their site. Well you know I said “heck yeah!” It is truly a honor and a blessing to know that my articles are found to be news worthy by my readers and that Before It’s News feels like the information found here can be beneficial to many more people. Thank you to Sebastian Clouth, Books Editor, and Before It’s News for finding the value in my blog.

Now that W.I.N. at Writing has been syndicated, I would love to start having a guest blogger once a month to write an article either on the topic of self publishing or memoir writing. However, if you’d like to submit an article on another topic related to the writing industry, I would be open to hear your suggestions as well. I am currently developing this part of my blogging life; but, if you are interested in being one of my guest bloggers in the future, please post a comment below and we will connect and get you scheduled.

On another note, the Inspired & Independent Book Club officially kicked off today! It’s not too late to join us in this month’s book reading — Chasing Superwoman: A Working Mom’s Adventure in Life and Faith by Sarah DiMickele. The Book Club has divided the book into 4 easy-to-read sections and one section is read each week. We then post our thoughts on that week’s section, with no spoilers if you read ahead, and at the end of the month we give a summary of our reading experience with the book in its entirety. Hop on over and join us. Christine and I have already posted our thoughts on the first week’s reading section.

Lastly, today is Day 1 of CampNaNoWriMo. I am doing CampNaNo this year, at least the June camp…haven’t decided if I’ll do the August camp as well. That’s 50,000 words written in a 30 day period. I am in a cabin with 5 others and we will be supporting and cheering each other on throughout the next 30 days of intensive writing. I hope to be able to finish my first draft by the end of camp, which I’m sure will be more than 50k words. That’s my goal so that I can then start the editing process and get this book published by the end of the year. If anyone is willing to read the finished first draft manuscript sometime in July of this year to give me your input, please let me know.

Whew! Lot’s of news for Friday Frivolities… More is better, so I ain’t complaining LOL!!! Have a GREAT weekend and I will “see” you all on Monday!

Focusing Your Memoir

Writing a memoir is a daunting task. A writer often struggles with what to include and what to leave out. It can be very overwhelming because no one wants to leave out any of the “good parts.” But how does one determine what the “good parts” are?

Memoir writers are often tempted to put in too much information. Characters and details that really are not important to the story you are trying to convey. These characters and details may have been part of the actual events, but do they make sense to the story from the viewpoint you are writing the memoir? If not, leave them out…even if it’s one of your siblings. You are not altering history here, you are simply writing the important memories you want to convey without the fluff stuff that isn’t necessary to the story you are telling.

I recently read an article on the American Scholar website on How To Write a Memoir. The author relates detailed information that can assist in memoir writing, some of which include:

  • But in my memoir I don’t write anything about the war itself. I just tell one story about one trip I took across North Africa after our troopship landed at Casablanca.“, and
  • Remember: Your biggest stories often have less to do with their subject than with their significance — not what you did in a certain situation, but how that situation affected you and shaped the person you became.“, and
  • Tackle your life in easily manageable chunks.

I think that these tidbits are good information for memoir writers to keep in mind. There is a wealth of other useful tidbits in the complete article, which can be found here. Don’t overdo it. Write just what is necessary to the story at hand. Your life spans many decades and trying to get a history of all those decades recorded in one volume is not only a difficult task, it may be unnecessary. Unless you are writing your autobiography, every detail is not necessary to tell a story about a portion of your life in a memoir. There’s no reason to relay all or most details of your life from birth up until the time of the story at hand. Leave those details for a different memoir. Focus on the subject matter of the memoir at hand — your memories of trips to your grandparents house, your memories of growing up in the church, your memories of baking cookies with your mom and selling them for a nickel at your lemonade stand…

In writing a memoir you must keep the story you are telling in focus. Do not lose your readers by giving too much information. Only what is pertinent to the story need be included. I suggest you take the time to read the full article. It is time well spent. I will be implementing the author’s suggestion to write a story about your life each morning and file it away until you have enough material to review and look for recurring patterns and themes. This helps the writer to really find out what their memoir is about, which is not usually what you think.

Time to share…
What do you struggle with in memoir writing? Has this article or the article on the American Scholar website helped you to refocus your memoir writing? In what ways?

Writing Memoirs

I receive an e-mail newsletter from the National Association of Memoir Writers. This is a great organization and site for memoir writers all over the world. It is a wealth of information, webinars and classes, as well as one-on-one coaching.

In the May 28th copy of the NAMW newsletter, it listed six questions that memoir writers ask:

The top six questions that memoir writers ask–and some answers.

  • ·         “Where do I start?” Start with a compelling story that you HAVE to write. List 5 more stories and write them one by one.
  • ·         “What do I include?” In your first draft, write everything that is on your mind. Remember, this is not your published version and you don’t have to show it to anyone.
  • ·         “Should I just copy my journals?” You can draw upon your journal but a memoir is a story. Learn the fictional tools that will help you write a compelling story.
  • ·         “What makes my life interesting to other people?” All of us worry about this, but the good news is that no one has lived your life, or understands being you and living on the planet the way you have. Everyone’s life is interesting to other people. Writing a great story makes it interesting.
  • ·         “Do I have to write a whole book?” (Gasp.) No. Write one story at a time. Just one.
·         “What will my family say?” Tell them you’re writing fiction. Don’t share your most vulnerable stories hoping they will understand you suddenly. Treat your writing like a tender plant in the garden.”

Oftentimes memoir writers worry about their content because of the personal nature of the subject matter. They worry about offending people in their lives who their stories may brush upon or talk about in detail. Our United States Constitution has given us the right to free speech. Speak freely about whatever topic you choose without worrying about hurting someone’s feelings. Everything you write will never be accepted by every person who reads it — whether the person is intricate to the story or a stranger reading the story. As long as you are not writing untruths about the individual or the situation the individual was party to, then there’s nothing you need to worry about.

Not everyone is going to like every story or book we write. There are too many obstacles in a writer’s path to “published” to let the feelings of others hinder you from writing. If you are able to:

  1. Write the truth, without sensationalizing it.
  2. Give facts and details.
  3. Speak from the heart in a non-vicious manner.

then you are able to write a memoir that you can hold your head high about and be proud of. You have not lied. You have provided great detail and all of the facts in the story. You are speaking from a storytelling perspective, free of thoughts of “pay back” or vindictiveness or seeking revenge. If someone’s feelings are hurt or you offend in your storytelling, you will know that your intent was to do neither. Your intent was to share with the world your story, from your perspective. No two people will have the same perspective and what you may see as the events of the story may be related by another party to the events in a totally different manner.

So, take a deep breath, relax, and write. It is your story. Your way. From your perspective. Remember that and know that you did not set out to anger anyone. My favorite quote from a very famous author:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) 

Your Writing Life and the iPad

DISCLAIMER: I am a technology junkie. I have worked in the information technology field for over 20 years. As such, gadgets get my adrenaline up. I am forewarning all who read this blog post that I may get a little geeky on you…

I purchased my iPad 2 on the Monday before the New iPad was released (Friday of the same week). The retina display et al that the New iPad boasts was not enough of a draw for me to spend the extra $100+ dollars, nor was I waiting in mad mob lines trying to get my hands on one of the New iPads on release day. I have since put my iPad 2 next to a New iPad and looked at the display. There is a clear difference between the displays; however, still not enough for me to have spent that extra money. If you are into doing lots with photos, streaming videos, and creating/editing both then yes, the New iPad would be marvelous. But I’m a writer…

Since I have purchased my iPad, I have been on a hunt for a productivity app that would allow me to type my manuscripts onto my iPad, save them, and access them later from other devices (iPhone, laptop/desktop PC, android tablet, etc.). I happened upon Storyist in one of my searches, purchased the program and use it religiously on my iPad. However, with me writing multiple manuscripts at the same time (the muse won’t let me focus on just one…) it was getting cumbersome to use the iPad, save to Dropbox, download from Dropbox on my PC, convert the file to a useable PC format (for Word), and then be able to start writing. I have enough procrastination techniques already…don’t need another one!

This morning, I was determined to find a tool that I could use on my iPad that I carry everywhere and enable me to write at the drop of a dime without all the uploading/downloading/converting hassle. So I did a Google search. Lo and behold I found OnLive Desktop! Can I tell you how excited I was to find this?! This is a FREE app for the iPad that allows you to access a Microsoft Office desktop which has Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Adobe Reader X at your disposal. Your account also comes with 2 GB of storage in the cloud. They have paid options as well; however, my needs were met with access to Microsoft Word and 2 gigs of storage space!

Now, I am not putting this out there as a “complaint” against Storyist. I love that app as well. However, being a PC-shop at home and the only Apple devices I own are my iPhone and iPad, it was just too cumbersome to use Storyist. If you have a MAC at home, you can get Storyist for the MAC as well and that would resolve all the issues that I was facing going between an Apple device and Windows.

I haven’t even had the opportunity to do anything more on my iPad then launch the app once I installed it and launch Word. I was in heaven! Haven’t typed one word yet… Therefore, the jury is still out regarding the stability of the app and whether it crashes and/or you lose data. I will definitely update my review on this find once I am able to get working with it. In the meantime, however, if you are like me and were struggling with compatibility issues between mobile working and working from home, then this might be the app for you.

Check it out and let me know your thoughts. I would love to hear about this service or any other apps or services others may have found that you are using in your writing life which are working for you.

Keep writing!

On Writing…

I read a great article yesterday by a newly published author — Khanh Ha. His first book, Flesh, was released this month from Black Heron Press.

Mr. Ha is of Asian descent. In his article, he speaks about writing from a voice that is not your own. A voice in which your ethnic background is totally different from that of your character’s. It is difficult to accomplish this task, as a writer needs to pull from a place where she’s never “been.” His article then goes into giving the reader some tips on becoming a successful, published author.

I enjoyed the article in its entirety; however, Mr. Ha’s 7 Rules for Writing really drove it home for me:

ON WRITING

So you want to write a novel. Do you have a writing routine? I know no one’s routine is like another’s. While writing FLESH, I was regimented. I wrote every day. Each day faithfully by sticking to the seven rules—7 is my lucky number.

#1—find discipline in solitude, in aloneness so you can meet your characters. It’s like a rendezvous with ghosts. Then make that meeting every day or every night with no excuses.

#2—write each scene as if it were the only thing in your universe—it must command all your attention.

#3—write one scene well and that scene would breed the next scene.

#4—leave room for readers to participate: don’t overwrite.

#5—stop where you still have something to say so the next day you won’t face a dry well.

#6—read each day to keep your mind off your own writing.

#7—don’t believe in anybody’s rules except yours.

If you were born to write, write something, even if it’s just a suicide note. Somewhere I remember Toni Morrison once said, “I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.”
[Credit: Khanh Ha, “Rules for Writing and Revising Your Novel”]

These 7 rules are golden! But the rule I liked best — “#7 — don’t believe in anybody’s rules except yours.” Many new authors do more reading about “how” to write and “how” to be an author and “what NOT to do…” that we 1) don’t spend enough time writing — the whole goal, and 2) have so many conflicting pieces of advice that we stay still for fear that we’ll choose the wrong writing path to travel down and break the rules. The only rules are the ones you set for yourself…

The full article can be found here. It is worth the read. And then, get to writing!

Time to share…
How do you feel about Mr. Ha’s 7 rules for writing? Will you implement any of them in your writing life? Which one(s) would you change?

Using Free Writing to Overcome Writer’s Block

Do you write freely?

What I mean by that is — do you open up your notebook, grab a pen and start writing? Without thinking about what you are writing. Without worrying about punctuation and grammar. Without thinking plot and sentence structure. Without consciously attempting to develop a character or even make any sense at all?

If you don’t, you should. That’s what they call “free writing.” Just writing whatever comes to mind, in no particular order, and with no attempt at being coherent. Just get it off you mind and onto the page.

Free writing is an excellent weapon against writer’s block. It empties your mind of all the slush and garbage that is blocking you from working on your story. It also allows the muse to have her fun so that you can get back to work! I free write each morning before attempting to work on any of my manuscripts. If I don’t, then I might get a forced paragraph onto paper in one of my manuscripts and then give up due to the struggle to get something down.

Some say that free writing is also the best way to get your manuscript down. Just write. From my understanding, that is the premise of NaNoWriMo — get 50,000 “words” down on paper, no matter whether it makes any sense or not, in 30 days. To that I agree and disagree — and I will be doing NaNo, but not with that mindset. When writing your manuscript’s first draft, you shouldn’t much care about punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, and the other trappings of writing. However, you shouldn’t throw all that carelessly to the wind either. Your first draft should be written as you envision the book to be, and it should be coherent. However, you should not dawdle on writing the perfect sentence, making sure all your grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and etc. is correct. But your first draft should be written soundly — don’t just throw garbage on the page. If you just type up garbage, your editing of that first draft and getting a second draft knocked out is going to be a nightmare. You will spend more time fixing and moving and making the book flow then you will getting the second draft done.

Don’t go to the other extreme on a first draft either! Find a happy balance between being able to write freely and getting a decent first draft down. Just write. But just don’t write garbage for your first draft…

Free writing is also a great tool for your personal life. We all deal with stress in our lives. Whether it’s stress from a 9 to 5, the stress of parenting, or the stress of marriage. Everyone has it. Free writing not only frees you from writer’s block, it also frees you from stress. I mentioned in another blog post that one of my manuscripts deals with a touchy subject. Delving into the inner folds of my mind to remember the stories surrounding what happened can be hard. It is very stressful. I use free writing when the memories become too painful. I push forward with the manuscript for as long as I can stand it, then I whip out my leather journal and write. I allow all the anger and pain to flow from my mind and heart, down my arm and through my pen onto the page. And I am better afterward.

You can also use free writing to quiet the muse. When I am working on a manuscript, the muse always wants me to work on a different one than that one. Or, she comes along and pops a brilliant idea for a new manuscript into my mind and keeps nagging me about it. So, when I cannot make her shut up, I free write for 15 minutes. This allows enough time for me to get the new idea broadly laid out or give 15 minutes of attention to the manuscript she wants me to work on. After that, it’s all gravy. I can go back to my original manuscript and punch out 2,000 or so more words in one sitting.

If you want to be freed from the commotion in your mind that is causing you difficulty in your writing life, then free write. If you’re like me and don’t want to mess up one of your nice journals, buy a cheap spiral bound notebook. That way you won’t cringe like I do when I see my sloppy writing, throwing grammar and punctuation to the wind, and doing so in a nice journal. I have since moved past that and can write in journals — I actually purchase one for each “theme” that generally plagues my mind. Who knows…one day one of those free writing journals may become the next NYTimes Best Seller…

Time to share…
Do you free write? If so, what’s your method? How does free writing help you?

Writing Through the Pain

I “win” at writing — I write to inspire and nurture… My writing aims to empower and uplift. Some people may classify some of my works as “self help.” Most of my writing is drawn from personal experience, and thus puts it in the classification of memoir.

Writing memoir is hard. Hard because it means you will be dredging up memories. Memories that are sometimes difficult to re-live. I am currently working on a two-book memoir which deals with infidelity. The writing is bringing up some heart wrenching, traumatic, and painful memories for me. How do you continue writing through this pain?

It is difficult. My subject is a very sensitive one. Writing reminds me of my experiences with this subject and the pain and destruction it causes. As a writer, it is already quite difficult to get the words on to the page. Fighting with your inner critic, fighting the urge to edit as you write rather than “get it down, then get it right” as Don Fry would instruct, distractions of home/work/life, writer’s block — the list of road blocks is monumental. Add to that writing from the heart on a topic that brings back painful memories and you have one great recipe for not making it to the printing press…

How then does one avoid the pitfalls and continue writing — to completion — a memoir with harsh memories?

The answers are many. As many as there are writers of memoir. Each writer handles things differently with one common thread — writing. They continue to write through the pain. They push forward and get the pain out of their minds and hearts and onto the page. But for me, this doesn’t always work…especially with my chosen topic. Sometimes the pain is too great to write through and one must take a break. So how do you prevent the necessary emotional breaks from stalling the writing process?

Write about something different…

Rather than take a mindless break that would have most writers lost for hours surfing the Internet or doing laundry (procrastination techniques 101), take a writing break:

  • Write and schedule your blog post for the next several days or weeks.
  • Edit your NaNoWriMo from 2011.
  • Try your hand at romance novel writing.
  • Start your first mystery trilogy.
  • Just don’t stop writing…

Change what you are writing about. I took on the ScriptFrenzy challenge for the first time this year. Failed miserably! But having another thing to write gave me something I could escape to while continuing to write… I was able to take a break from the pain of recalling the memories yet I kept writing. For me, this makes it an easier transition back to the hard task at hand. If I took a break by not writing anything, it would be much harder for me to pick the pen up again and get going. It is hard enough putting “butt in chair” and starting in the first place. To stop writing, especially when writing something emotionally difficult, would hurt far more than it would help.

My advice — keep writing. Write through the pain in the manuscript if you can. If the pain of writing is jetting you toward putting down your pen and doing laundry, switch gears and brush up on your screenwriting. Or start your first paranormal romance. Take a stab at fiction writing if you consider yourself a nonfiction writer. Whatever you do —

Keep writing…

Time to share…
How do you make it through writing about difficult subjects, ones that cause you emotional distress and/or hurt? What advice can you give to other writers who run up against this same issue?