Notes to Start a Writer’s Week

(Yes, that’s right–my week is really starting today, even if it IS Tuesday):

1. Beware the gardening catalogs! You will only spend hours picking out plants that you will then not have enough time to plant.

2. And, if you do plant them, you will not have time enough to give them the time and love they need (unless you get that sprinkler system installed.)

3. And you will feel guilty when they fail to thrive or (gasp!) die.

4. Even though gardening is fun.

5. Even though flowers are beautiful.

6. Even though you love the little yellow and purple crocuses appearing in your front yard.

7. Even though the weather is luring you into a false sense of spring right now.

8. Save your energy for the basics: yard work, weeking, vegetable garden, strawberries, and, of course, writing.

9. Hmm. Does that mean vegetable catalogs are an acceptable waste of–I mean use of–time?

10. I’ll get back to you on that one.

:) Cheryl

Limbo

I’m having trouble settling on a writing project, because I feel like I’m floating in a bit of writer’s limbo. Why, you ask? I have two big projects out and expect to hear on both in the near future. I have another editor who asked me to help out with an upcoming chapter book series…starting any day. And I’ve recently emerged from complete immersion in another book project, written as my entry for the Writing Away Retreat scholarship contest.

Part of the trouble is that I can’t quite settle on what project to pick up next. My head tells me that this might be a good time to tackle one of those article ideas on my shelf. They’re good ideas, have an excellent shot of publication (IF I write them), and wouldn’t a short-term project be best when I’ve got other big tasks around the corner? My heart tells me to dive back into the Peru book, which has been unattended far too long. I sifted through my notes and edits yesterday. I had twenty or so new pages that I hadn’t even printed out! And I have vague memories of making life-altering plot decisions during my trip East (not so many weeks ago)…but I can’t remember, exactly, what those plot decisions entailed.

And then there’s the ever-distracting Authonomy site, where I can read others’ work and try to nudge my own farther up the scale…except that the work I posted there isn’t my best writing, so I’m not 100% engaged in the effort. And I think you have to be 100% engaged to gain full benefit from the site.

The solution? I’ll pick up the Peru book again today and see how much I can recapture of those half-remembered plot decisions. I’m not ready to resume writing; I need to reacquaint myself with the characters, theme, and so on first. I’ll see what I can do today.

But maybe that’s what writing is all about–seeing what we can do, one day at a time.

:) Cheryl

February writing blahs

Is February a particularly difficult month in which to write? I keep hearing friends say that they’re in a writing rut, that their prose is blue, that they’re uninspired. I confess I’ve had a bit of a creativity lull the past few weeks, too, but that had a lot to do with the non-writing portions of my life.

For instance, I discovered the cause of yesterday’s writer’s block: I was getting sick. By noon, I was completely useless. Before that, one of my boys was sick in that really-pathetic-communing-with-the-bathroom-floor kind of way, which might also have contributed to my lack of flow.

I hate those times when the words don’t flow.

However, I’ve noticed something. When I write for clients, I’m not allowed to take a break just because the words don’t flow…and so, somehow, I write. I need to apply this lesson to my own writing. Sometimes, when I’m in a rut/uninspired/feeling blue, putting pen to page is enough to get me moving again. I need to post this quote in my writing space:

“I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.” — Peter de Vries.

For the days that doesn’t work…well, maybe more drastic measures are required. You know, things like chocolate, creativity walks, and reading a dozen or so really fun books :). I’m willing to do whatever it takes!

~Cheryl

Notes to start a writer’s week

When stuck in your writing, the answer is NOT:

1. Sleep

2. Starting a new project

3. Painting your toenails

4. Reorganizing the laundry room

5. Reorganizing your paper clips

6. Shopping for new office supplies

7. Shopping for new anythings

8. Surfing the Internet (even in the name of research)

9. Chocolate

10. (although chocolate may be part of the answer)

The answer, instead, involves one or more of the following:

1. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, and all that

2. Daydreaming scenes

3. Character sketches

4. Creativity walks

5. Writing exercises

6. Writing retreats (although probably not….)

7. Turning off the phone

8. Turning off e-mail

9. In fact, turning off the entire computer might be good

10. Putting pen to paper and writing, writing, writing

:) Cheryl