The Courage to Write

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but I’m still struggling with finding time to write. At least that’s what I thought the problem was. I shared my daily schedule last Monday. Know what happened last week? I did not write a word. My four hours of daily writing time became four hours of Netflix. I’ve watched all of Bloodline, I’m working my way through Blue Bloods, and I’m addicted to HGTV—anything HGTV—right now my Jones is, House Hunters International Renovations. I finished Half Price Paradise. I want to move to Utila.

Get over itWhat the heck is going on? Am I just too tired to create? Am I hiding from myself? Do I need a serious break (yes—from the day job). Have I run out of ideas for the newest novel? Am I bored by the newest novel? Why is it, every time I sit down to write, I power of the laptop, log on to the writing program…and power the computer down. I have been able to convince myself to go back and start editing the early chapters. At this point, I have little choice but to reconnect with my story. Been away too long. Sure, I have the next five chapters in bullet point outline It’s the details that escape me. Is the male lead Kirk or Kurt? Are they the Taylors or the Tylers? The little details. The telling details. Back to the drawing board.Inspiration mug

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Want to know what’s really going on? I finally figured it out. This happens to me with every book. I’ve got 47,000 words on the page. A little over halfway for the typical first draft. This is the point where the story does that hourglass thing. All the clues and red herrings of the first third have been dumped in, now, the story is sorting out. Things are getting compressed, danger is on every page. Story lines are ending in resolution, others are starting and new secrets are being unveiled. This is where creativity meets reality. I don’t write science fiction. My stories have to make sense. My story has to survive the multiple small deaths of some red herrings and the surviving red herrings and the real clues have to be compressed, re-blended and forced through that tiny wasp waist opening to the lower part of the hourglass where they can blossom again.

I’m scared! What if I can’t do it. What if my red herrings won’t conclude? What if I drop some clues and leave lose ends? What if I totally screw up the story and now, more than half-way though have to go back and…do it all over again! Hum, I wonder how those people in Belgium solved the problem of having to walk through a bedroom to the only bathroom in that gorgeous house? You can understand why that problem would have great appeal for me now. It’s not my problem!

Non-writing writerIt takes courage to write. Oh, not grace under fire courage, but a sure certainty that you are going to be able to bring the story home. Any time I’m not writing is time wasted for me. I do control that time. It does not control me. But the siren song of the Internet, TV, music, even weeding the garden can be so seductive. And so comfortable!

There must be something to karma. Without realizing it, I must have tossed my dreadful conundrum out into the universe. I opened my e-mail today and found a post by Tim Grahl titled “How to Make Time for Writing.” The simple act of reading it gave me enough energy to write, although a lot of it reminds me of tough love, and I ain’t quite ready to go there! Looking at the list did make me see how much time is wasted in a day, and it offered strategies to fix the time suck I’ve created. Right now I’m mulling the options, but I bet I’ve got the rest of the chapters edited by the time I show up again on this blog next Monday. I’ll report in.

What about you? Do you have a love/hate relationship with certain parts of tasks you love?

Who DunnitIf anyone is going to be in or around Sarasota, Florida on Saturday, June 18th, stop by the Barnes and Noble at 4010 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231, (941) 923-9907. I’ll be there with my fellow Sisters in Crime for readings, author signings and a panel discussion from 10:00am until 4:00pm. I’d love to meet you!

Kait loves to hear from fans, check out her website at www.kaitcarson.com; follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kaitcarsonauthor, on twitter at @kaitcarson, or e-mail her at kait.carson@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “The Courage to Write

    1. Yes, of course sci fi must make sense, but in its own world. Sorry. poorly stated, Connie. Readers will accept conventions and events in sci fi that will not be accepted in mysteries. Thank you for the correction!

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  1. I say give yourself a break, a little slack. There are ups and downs in the writing process; the important thing is to do something, however seemingly minor or insignificant, to further the manuscript about everyday. Sounds to me like you have a hectic schedule so don’t beat yourself up. As to being scared: good! Keeps you motivated. Just remember you’ve already completed several good mysteries already. No reason why you won’t do it again.

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  2. You are a tremendously organized person Kait and it appears there is barely a moment in your schedule to day dream or have a treat. We all need some treats. I rarely watch TV but Saturday I stayed up all night watching movies. I needed the refreshment and to view stories from a point other than reading and writing. That was a treat. Give yourself a break you’re not a robot. True to character you will soon be clicking along on that schedule of yours.

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    1. Thanks MJ. It’s hard to do. I always think I should be doing something else when I’m not doing what I think I should be doing. That probably explains why I love scuba diving so much. It takes 100% of my concentration, and except for my dive computer, no electronics involved. Funny story–I was on a 120′ wreck having a great time. Unknown to me, my boss (not the one I work for now, a prior boss) called my cell phone. The dive captain who was also a friend recognized the name on the screen and answered to tell my boss that I was underwater and would call back. My boss asked the dive captain if he couldn’t get me on the phone immediately as it was very important. So the dive captain said, Sure, I’ll just throw the phone over the side. My former boss thought that was a fine idea.

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  3. Well, once again I’ve been chastised by either your or Max’s posts. Guilty as charged to all the points you mentioned (except the TV & Netflix stuff. I just read Tim Grahl’s post–he nails me to a T. I have a not-quite half-finished novel that I haven’t messed with much in months. The main culprit–besides me, of course–marketing and promoting my latest mystery published in mid March. And before that I was obsessed with getting pre-pub reviews, blurbs, etc. I simply can’t do this any longer. I have to get back to writing and leave all that other stuff to whatever fate the reading gods have in store for my newest three-month old baby. So, fare thee well–I’m off to write!

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    1. I know what you mean,Mike. Don’t you wish there was someone you could get to do your marketing. Marketing has to be someone’s forte. They could make a killing. I don’t mind doing the blogs and personal appearances, but the hours on FB and Twitter, etc. beyond me…

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  4. HAH. I found your blog when seeing if anyone had techniques in breaking through obstacles when writing blogs, but here you have a well written blog about struggling with creative writing. You should check out this brilliant little book “The war of art”. Believe me, you’ll suddenly *get it*, and have more to work with getting past your discipline issues. I don’t have the discipline issue, I just suddenly go blank when it’s time to write some semi-formal blog posts. Crud.

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