Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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Celebrating: I Love To Write Day!

Did you know that today, the 15th of November is always America Recycles Day, National Bundt Pan Day (I know. Weird, right?) and believe it or not… it’s also I Love to Write Day!

 

 

 

How serendipitous is that?

 

 

 

When I learned of this obscure celebration, it was and it wasn’t so serendipitous. On one hand, it was great, seeing how I’m a writer looking for today’s subject. But I wasn’t feeling the joy because this year has been the worst yet for me in terms of feeling the urge to write, the need to get words on paper and finding inspiration. Many of you here know what an emotionally devastating year 2010 was for me. Multiple family members with health issues, three deaths, etc. But I’d also sold a book to Red Sage and had to keep pushing myself to finish rounds of edits and publisher info sheets for cover art and such. I had a contract, therefore no choice but to meet my obligations. Having something else to concentrate on was both a blessing and a curse.

 

 

 

During the first part of this year, I concentrated on getting Insight and Phantoms & Fantasies self/Indie published. Then Bittersweet Obsessions released on June 1st and I could relax a little.

 

 

 

Promotions were a different animal from the creative writing. Sure, I had to write guest posts and such, but I didn’t have to dig for character motivations and build a plot. Everything in me shied away from the creativity of fiction writing. I’m an empathetic person during the best of times, eyes prickling hot at Hallmark commercials and such, but suddenly I was crying over even small kindnesses portrayed on gritty police procedural shows.

 

 

 

Digging into a character’s emotional state was beyond my tolerance. You see, my empathy extends to my writing, my characters. If they’re sad, I’m sad and crying with them. If they’re cracking a joke, I’m chuckling along too. Digging into their emotions meant dealing with my own, and I still felt too fragile. Readers of Bittersweet Obsessions wanted to know if Klaus’s story would be next, so I started it, but couldn’t get past the first chapter and a little planning.

 

 

 

I gave myself a stern talking to several times, not that it helped. Others have encouraged me, and I appreciated their support, but the words still didn’t come. Gradually, though, I began to yearn for the feel of creating new characters, exploring their lives, helping them find their happily-ever-after’s. The anniversaries of the trio of deaths came and went. I survived and felt somewhat stronger. I re-read notes I’d made for new stories, but didn’t feel inspired to write them. Nothing spoke to me.

 

 

 

Every morning, I’d awaken, wishing a new story idea would be there like a gift waiting to be opened. Today it was there. It was there!

 

 

 

I eased from the bedroom quietly, went to my computer and began to make notes on the three strong, independent women clamoring to tell me their stories. They’re friends with uniquely personal sorrows and triumphs to share with me. They have hurts to heal and better days ahead, much like me.

 

 

 

For me, today is definitely I Love To Write Day!

 

 

 

Have you ever hit a writing slump that it didn’t feel like you’d ever get out of? Or do the ideas come to fast for you to get them all down? I’d love to hear your experiences too.

 

Linsey Lanier - November 15, 2011 - 6:08 am

Oh, Carol. Sounds to me like you just needed time to grieve. Life sometimes throws us a curve ball, and our plans go up in smoke. (Pardon the mixed metaphor.) It surely socked it to you last year. I’m amazed at what you’ve accomplished given what you’ve been through. But I’m glad to hear characters are speaking to you again.

I’ve had many slumps, and times I’ve written when it all feels like worthless drivel. But the zest always seems to come back. That’s something we forget as writers, I think. It will always come back. If it didn’t we wouldn’t have been able to experience it in the first place. That’s my theory, anyway.

Thanks for telling us about I Love To Write Day. Right in the middle of NaNoWriMo. How perfect. That reminds me. I need to get some pages churned out today, LOL. Glad I love it. :)

Sandra Elzie - November 15, 2011 - 6:55 am

Hi Carol,
Sometimes we need time to rest…work six days,rest the 7th…and sorrow/loss/illness/etc can force us to do what our minds and bodies need.

Sounds like you’ve passed through your season of rest and now the world better look out because our Carol is back!

Dianna Love - November 15, 2011 - 7:31 am

Sorry for the difficult time it’s been, Carol, but it sounds like you’ve picked a good day to jump back into your stories. Good luck with your next one and wishing you a better year ahead.

Pam Asberry - November 15, 2011 - 8:13 am

Yay, Annie! Glad your muse has returned. I have a love/hate relationship with fiction writing. I love it when the words are flowing, and I hate it when I can’t seem to get anything write. But I write anyway. In honor of today, I will choose to love writing. Like Linsey, I have words to crank out for NaNoWriMo! Thanks for the great post. Good luck!

Debbie Kaufman - November 15, 2011 - 8:14 am

Carol, I’m so excited and can’t wait to see where these next stories take you. Inspiration is fickle, but persistence, which you have, is the key!

Christine - November 15, 2011 - 8:31 am

Hi Carol: I’m sorry you had a tough 2010/2011 in all fronts. Of course this will impact your writing and creativity. I haven’t hit a slump regarding the writing despite my own personal ups and downs (which many of you know about via our group), but I have hit a “why am I beating my head against this wall” period. I’m tired of writing all day and not seeing results. Sometimes I wonder if I’m a better mentor than a writer. I doubt myself constantly. This year I’ve wanted to quit many times. But I haven’t. I just keep telling myself that if I quit I will reject myself. And I can’t do that.

I get lots of ideas, and blurbs come easily to me. But when I start plotting I go crazy and add too many elements. It’s all I can do to keep the two peeps on the page.

Good luck and happy writing day to you. I hope your new stories keep you in the chair!!

:-)

Kristina Knight - November 15, 2011 - 8:38 am

Grieving is such a unique experience, Carol…and it sounds as if you had a LOT on your plate over the last year. I’ve been in similar situations and handled it as you did – by continuing on, struggling through. And little by little, the writing got easier.

Good for you for pressing on..and good luck with the new work!!

Tamara LeBlanc - November 15, 2011 - 8:48 am

I’m so glad you got some inspiration back today. It’s a wonderful feeling, I know, though it happens very infrequently with me.
I wish I could find out what it is that holds me back. There are times when I write furiously, this past summer in fact, I wrote daily, for hours on end, for about two months. It was an amazing feeling to be able to sit down, open up word (without checking emails first) and typing page after page. I was so prolific for those few months I thought for sure I’d finish my WIP in a handful of weeks.
But…
Something happened. It always does. I stopped writing.
And the funny thing is I know exactly where the story is going, I’m not stumped, I know my characters (love them both) I’m still excited about the entire plot…so what the heck stops me.
I don’t get writer’s block. When I sit down, and open up my document, I write, no problem.
But there is something keeping me from opening the document.
Is it fear?
I’m not sure.
Laziness?
I don’t think so.
Not enough time?
No, I don’t work and have teenaged children, so I’ve got loads of time.
I wish I could get to the bottom of my issue.
I have so many stories to tell and I love writing, so the only one I’m hurting is me.
I’m so proud of all of your accomplishments, truly proud and happy for you.
Best of luck to you on your new endeavor and thanks for sharing with us.
Have a brilliant and productive day!
Tamara

Marilyn Baron - November 15, 2011 - 9:32 am

Carol,
I’m glad this is I love to Write Day. Maybe it will inspire me to get back to it. I will take any excuse not to stay on task. I have to go to the bank, I have client work to do, friends and family to talk to on the phone, answer e-mails, etc. But I think I’ll take inspiration from your post to get back on track. I’m glad the words are flowing again for you.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 12:36 pm

Linsey, it is perfect, isn’t it to have such a celebration during NaNo? Speaking of…I must get more words on paper too.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 12:37 pm

I hope you’re correct in your assessment, Sandy. While I couldn’t seem to go there, I’ve really missed the creativity of writing and am looking forward to these new characters and their stories.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 12:39 pm

Thank you, Dianna! I really appreciate your support to all of us at PFHT. You’re truly a gem.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 12:40 pm

Good luck to you, too, Pam. I’ve no hope of catching up to your word count, but I’m going to have more words on the page at the end of November than I did at the beginning, that’s for darn sure!

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 12:42 pm

Well, Debbie, my hubby would call it stubbornness. I’ve been accused of that on more than one occasion. All I can say is I resemble that remark. LOL! Write on!

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 12:49 pm

Christine, I’m no expert, but have you tried a plotting device like the ‘W’ method, Pinch-point plotting, or the Vogler steps? I personally enjoy using the PPP method with an eye toward the rising and falling of the ‘W’. Perhaps that would keep you from adding in too much.

As for persistence, see my previous comment. ;)

I tend to get a slew of ideas and keep an idea file in my computer full of little paragraphs of story ideas. Sometimes they jump out at me and insist it’s their time to shine. I’ve learned that a shiny idea does not a story make. I must work hard to transform it into something cohesive and worth reading. It’s getting to that point that’s what writing is all about.

If it helps any, I’ve been writing and submitting since 2003! Yikes. Almost 10 yrs now. There are many days I feel like I should be much farther along in my career.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 1:08 pm

Kristina, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I just came from your blog and loved your story of adoption. Congrats on a published story – so cool!

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 1:10 pm

Tamara, my bouts of non-writing are usually following the end of a book. I just need a mini-breather to clear my head so I can start thinking about new characters.

I’m sorry you’re having such a struggle. I wish you luck getting back into the groove, because I enjoy your writing. :D How selfish is that? LOL

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 1:12 pm

Marilyn, what you describe has happened to me before. I believe it was fear of failure, which I’m trying to eradicate from my system. I’ve a post on that at Savvy Authors later on in the week. Now, go BICHOK!

Susan Carlisle - November 15, 2011 - 1:22 pm

Oh, Carol I’m glad to hear the mojo is back. I’m looking forward to reading about your new characters, I always find them wonderful. Keep those words flowing!

Darcy Crowder - November 15, 2011 - 1:30 pm

Carol! Good for you! I’m very happy to hear that you’ve jumped back into the game. With your talent for both heartfelt and steamy moments, I’m sure this next story will be a success. Can’t wait to hear more about these new ladies. :)

EC Spurlock - November 15, 2011 - 2:04 pm

Carol, I’m glad to hear the inspiration is coming back. Sometimes grief just knocks all the air out of us and it takes a long breathing spell to get it back. When we’re emotionally lost, it’s hard to know ourselves, much less our characters. It takes time to redefine yourself around the parts that are missing.

I went through something similar when I lost my job right after my mom passed away. It didn’t help that the story I was working on at the time had a lot of very angsty characters in it. I ended up setting it aside and coming up with something else, something intentionally light and funny just to take my mind off things, with no intention of publishing so I could just have fun and not worry about how good or polished it was or even if it made sense. That helped keep me going until I recovered enough to get back to serious writing.

Good luck with your new project and your continued healing.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 2:21 pm

Writing mojo. Yes, that’s it! Thanks, Susan. :D

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 2:23 pm

Thanks, Darcy. As usual, they came to me with names. Maisey, Reva and Jordan. Gotta love that.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 2:24 pm

EC, you are so right. All I know is I’m beginning to feel like my old self again and it’s awesome.

Christine - November 15, 2011 - 3:01 pm

Hi Carol/Annie: I do plot using the 6 act structure along with Pinch Point/Turing Point structures. For some reason, I’m just not able to get from Point A to Point B very easily in this MS. I have had to step away from it and look at it from so many different angles my neck hurts.

But I will check out Vogler’s method as well–he’s on my DVD with Michael Hauge.

Sigh, I know what I have to do–now I have to execute it.

Or does that mean I kill it? Sigh again. Back to the chair I go.

:-)

Sia Huff - November 15, 2011 - 5:10 pm

Happy Write Day to you Carol. So glad your muse is coming out to play again. May you have fun together.
I’ve had two periods where I couldn’t write. The first was after my youngest was born with major health issues. My sole focus was on him. Then when my Dad was terminal and I was his caregiver. I almost gave up writing but my family convinced me not to. I needed time to heal. It took me a while to get back into writing.
Here’s hoping everyone has a productive day.

Tami Brothers - November 15, 2011 - 8:08 pm

I love the Happy Writing Day idea. I wonder if they make a Hallmark card for that???

:) I’m really sorry about all the struggles. I feel your pain and frustration. I started off this crazy writing journey cranking out the words to the tune of a book every three months (with editing complete). That felt great. Then I had an agent tell me to hold on. I was going too fast. I needed to focus on the current one she was trying to sell. Not ideal, huh? I took that advice. Stopped the flow. Edited and reedited that book until it was no longer the book I had originally written (sweet romance to hotter than Blaze). Heck, I didn’t have a problem with the rewrites. It was just so heart breaking and I had no outlet with another story.

Since then, I’ve struggled to get back into that groove. I have days where I am ready to write the whole book. Then there are days when the only writing related thing I can do is to read a few writing blogs. Unfortunately, there are more of those than the writing ones.

But I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. The self-publishing gig has really been motivating. I see an end product and people really “like me” (ie Sally Fields).

I truly wish you all the best in moving forward. I understand the need to step back from a story. The three strong independent ladies sound like their stories are ready to be told. I say go for it. :)

Tami

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 9:21 pm

Christine,
My advice? Follow the romance, the emotion, not the plot/actions in your story points. Let the rest evolve from that.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - November 15, 2011 - 9:29 pm

Thanks, Sia. That’s the ticket! Productive days for all (Said with a little prayer in case the muse isn’t listening.)

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