Friday, May 14, 2010

Why writing for me can't be a solitary profession

Tip of the day: I am HERE this weekend, talking about me, my writing, and my books. Please, come and see me!!

I think I've talked here before about how one of my writerly weaknesses is coming up with ideas. I really have to work hard to come up with my book ideas. Whenever I hear authors say they have entire notebooks filled with ideas, I secretly want to break into their house and steal them. I mean, to me that would be better than a treasure chest full of gold!

Even when I have an idea, sometimes the specific plot points that need to occur in the story trip me up. It seems like I'll get stuck on one thing and I'll try to figure out how to make it work, even though it really is just NOT working and I should come up with something else entirely. But it's SO hard for me to do that.

I'm in the process of doing a total rewrite on a book, and pretty much everything has had to change. One crucial element in the story that worked in the first version is just not going to cut it this time around. And I kept trying to think of how else things could play out and nothing made sense. I was to that point where I was ready to just give up. I mean, you've been there, right? It's so frustrating!!

It reminds me of a really hard puzzle and there's one piece you can't find and you look and you look and you look and finally, you think, why am I still looking, this is not fun anymore!!!

And just like with a puzzle, a new set of eyes or ears can make ALL the difference. Writing friends have pulled me from the pit of despair probably a hundred times. Sometimes you just need someone to play the what if game with you. Our own Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing, recently helped me pin down a plot element for a new story I was working on recently, and what she came up with was PERFECT.

At first, I'm like, duh, why didn't I think of that? But then I get over myself and am just SO grateful that I have people I can turn to who are willing to listen or read a bit and help out.

Some writers can write a book beginning to end all by themselves. And occasionally, I do that as well. But more often than not, it takes a village to finish one of my books. I can look at each of my books and think of at least a couple of places where it made ALL the difference having input from a writer friend or two on what should be there.

Sometimes I just can't find the missing puzzle piece, and want to smash thing to bits all over the floor. But now I know, before I do that, I should call in a friend. Because most times, they point RIGHT to it, and the picture is much clearer as a result.

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career


Jay Lake said...

It fascinates me how different writers are. Ideas are easy, almost trivial for me. I work at craft (and, well, marketing, promotion and new contracts these days), but I've never in my life been strapped for concepts or crunchy details. Agreed it is most definitely not a solitary profession, despite the press.



DeenaML said...

Phone a friend! Words to live by. :)

Emily Marshall said...

This happens alot to me too. Writing friends are the best. Sometimes I think we are too close to the story to realize the obvious.