Wednesday, January 9, 2013

IN A WRITING SLUMP? CAN'T FOCUS ....

Happy Hump DAY all.

This is the perfect day of the week for this post! Wednesday is always a hard day because there are still two more days until the weekend and you still have to be ON at work.

As most of you know, I have been AVOIDING my writing, coming up with excuse after excuse. "Oh, I am too busy with work .... Oh, it's Thanksgiving and there's too much to do .... OH, I have to decorate for Christmas... OOooo instead of  a traditional tree, I'll make one!" Killing two weeks in the process... Then, "Oh, l have to make last minute gifts ... Oh, I have to finish the baking ...." Yada ...Yada... Yada .... You get the picture. What's YOUR list?

Well, it's a new year and the 9th already! So get off you "excuse pot" and get to work! I had started with good intentions, and found it wasn't that easy getting back into my edits. I'd work an hour here and  an hour there, but I seemed to slip .... and then it happened ......

An URGENT cry out from my wonderful new friend, Morgan Shamy. For those of you who don't know Morg, you need too! She is a whirlwind of energy and positivity! She just signed with an agent and had just finished her first re-write for said agent when I checked in on her. She was so stressed.  Understandably so.... "I just read through it and I hate everything...."

I offered to critique it for her. (the old Lazy Me Voice whispered in my ear... another great excuse!)
"But you are SO busy.... you need to finish Amber."
"Yes," I said. "BUT your situation is much more urgent and I really want to help you." And I sincerely did... although I heard the cheering from Lazy Me Voice. (LMV)

This was Friday and after a bit of bantering, and the help she gave me on my query for my second novel (How sweet is that ..... ), she finally sent out the ms to me.

Bright and early Saturday morning I opened the word doc. I had read a few chapters before the final edit, so I was familiar with the beginning. I found a few things to tweak and read on ...

By the fifth chapter, a light within me filled the void and LMV cooed. INSPIRATION finally HIT ME in the FACE! MY mind ignited and the sleeping volcano erupted, oozing zillions of thoughts. I hadn't lost my muse .... it wasn't gone! I COULD write and edit again!

That evening I had about two thirds of the story read. What I LOVED about this story .... Morg has a way with the SHOCK factor. My jaw dropped at least THREE times that evening. By 2 am and bleary- eyed, I couldn't read another word... although I wanted to....

The first thing Sunday morning, even BEFORE my coffee, I revved up the computer and dived right into the rest of the story. By the final page, I was NOOOOOOOO.... I didn't want it to end. OF course, the final scene was perfect, but still ...

I finished up my final notes and sent them out to Morg. I wasn't sure if I had stepped over any boundaries, but she had assured me to be honest. "Do whatever it takes..." I waited.

She had a full day on Sunday with family obligations, so I knew I wouldn't hear from here right way. Later that afternoon I got the email.... Holding my breath I read the first sentence....

"Your notes are FANTASTIC. I'm applying all of them ...."  LMV jumped off the sofa and screamed in my ear "Get to work .... NOW! No more EXUSES from ME...."

I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. Not only did I help a wonderful friend, but this act catapulted me out of my slump and I found inspiration! So if your LMV is nagging at you non stop, offer to critique a fellow writer's work. It just may be the jolt to have your LMV cheering you on!

Do you have an LMV? Did you ever have an LMV? If so, what did you do to silence him/her?

Well, everyone, I hope this brought a ray of sunshine your way today. Have a great day and I'll see you on Friday!

45 comments:

  1. I so enjoy all my interactions with Morgan, but haven't read any of her work. So glad it snapped your LMV into shape. Sometimes just action in the right direction is all it takes to get me back to work.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this experience, Michael! It just shows how helping another person can open new avenues of creativity in ourselves.

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  3. First off, I love Morgan, she's amazing.

    Yes, I have a LMV. Why do you think I'm blogging instead of writing during my limited time. Your post is pretty inspirational, though. I'll get back to work. Right after I check this one thing....

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  4. Morg is super awesome - and that's an understatement. Words can't begin to describe her infectious awesomeness. Glad you were able to help and that your muse got a kick in the rear that it needed. Onward and upward! :)

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  5. I echo David-- Morgan is awesome. So glad you can help her out. But yes, to your point, it is so easy to find reasons to not write. The trick is finding the REAL reason-- perhaps fear-- that keeps us from that focus.

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  6. I don't know Morgan...will have to go meet her ! :) Yay for you and your new motivation. I'm trying...my problem is life always comes up- the important stuff like the kids. But I try hard to squeeze some time in and keep my momentum going!

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  7. I'm sure you made HER day as well!
    Definitely lazy when it comes to writing. That's why I need things like NaNo and BuNo to force me to write.
    Still not sure between writing and music, however... an idea recently hit me. Still mulling it over.

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  8. Yah, I have LMV. Agreed, holiday times are rough to maintain a schedule. I've found that critiquing others helps me too. I don't know if it's because it pulls my focus to a specific spot it needs to be to unlock the doors or what.

    I helped with a recently released book--got my juices going. I've got an idea that smacked my upside the head and I've been working it in my mind. I have to let it mull for awhile before I can write it.
    :-)

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  9. Inspiration can hit at any moment, but we have to recognize it when it happens. Very happy you are back on track.

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  10. Great suggestion. I definitely go through those slumpy times. I'll have to try your suggestion.

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  11. It has, thank you! I've been editing my little heart out already this year and am gearing up for a big release next month. Busy, busy as always. No rest for the wicked and all that. Glad you got rocked out of your slump!

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  12. Great post, Michael. It is so imperative as a writer to continue to read and crit the work of others. It has a way of helping us find our confidence, and recall that there is beauty in the struggle--and that we all struggle.

    Morgan is Super Woman, and I'm glad she has folks like you to turn to when she has a need. Can't imagine anything she turns out as being bad, and can't wait to point to a bookshelf and say, "I know her!" :-)

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  13. Writers being inspired by other writers. So great. I'm glad this experience has jolted you back into the world of your own writing. Can't wait to see you off and running Michael!

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  14. Isn't it great that when we help others, inspiration floats our direction?? Love this and so glad to hear your back to writing again. :)

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  15. Awwwww... this is GREAT, Michael! And you really did help SO MUCH. I'm so grateful. It's scary, working so hard and not knowing if it's going in the right direction or if our work is going to amount to anything. But it's such a neat thing to be connected to other writers who "get it." Where we can band together and help each other to create our best work.

    And shock factor??? Sweeeet! :D

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  16. If I am stuck in my own writing, critiquing someone else's work always helps get me back in the groove. I learn a lot about my own flaws (yes i have a few) when I'm looking at someone else's ms. Having great critique partners is such a blessing!

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  17. It's awesome how inspiration works like that, right? My LMV voice has been telling me that I don't need to write because I'm stressed out. So I've been reading, and I think I finally understand what needs to be done in my WIP. So maybe the LMV is right. . . just not always. ;)

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  18. This did bring a ray of sunshine my way - thank you for that! I think Morgan is wonderful. I love that the two of you have such a good writing relationship. We all need those people in our lives. ;)

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  19. I haven't visited Morgan in a while, guess I'll say hello before I dive into my own writing project tonight - my RFW post.

    I let a host of things keep me from writing/editing. Right now its overtime at the day job, but yeah, mostly its just laziness. I already missed three self imposed deadlines since my Jan pep talk :(

    How cool that working on another writing related project jump started your muse. I know how that is, I've had that happen. Its certainly a feeling to celebrate.

    Good luck with the writing inspiration.

    Ok, my Bug has given me permission to tuck myself away in my office for the night. Guess I better go . . .

    ........dhole

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  20. I love critting my buddies' stories! They're so talented and creative it definitely does put me in the creative mood! :) Hope your 2013 rocks!!

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  21. I don't have a Lazy Me Voice. I have a SLAVE DRIVER voice saying "Get back to work! Stop your lollygagging! Who needs sleep? How dare you watch TV? Get back to work!"

    And the consequence is I drive myself to the computer even when I'm exhausted, defeated, and creatively blocked and drained. Nothing pretty happens under those conditions.

    YES -- critiquing is an excellent way to rejuvenate. And so is reading a published work by a total stranger who doesn't expect you to review it or rate it on Goodreads or anything!

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  22. Fantastic that you broke out of your slump by critiquing her ms. Wonderful for her and excellent for you. Now you're ready to write! Perfect.

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  23. What a great story! I heart both of you guys, so I loved how you were able to help each other. :)

    Good luck!

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  24. I definitely have a LMV! (Love that abbreviation, btw)

    I think reading and reading other peoples' WIPs is a great way to knock the LMV out of the way.

    Great insight, Michael!

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  25. Inspiration comes from all places.

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  26. I am very familiar with the LMV. It's pretty much my bestie in life. Now I want to read the book you were reading!! And also, you're inspiring me to finish my book! Thanks!

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  27. Morg is quite a talent. I get most of my inspiration simply from trying daily to get the most out of life. I go where it takes me.

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  28. Hooray for Morgan! Ooo, I love it when I get to crit a great story (like Susan's Free Souls! Or Tami's Medium Wrong)--you're right, it DOES jump you out of the writing slump. I know I'm DYING to get back to my own revisions now.

    Great post, and here's to getting off the pot and back to revisions--LOL! LB hugs~ <3

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  29. Hwy Bro,just what I needed to hear :)

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  30. Sounds like that was a mutually beneficial exchange. :)

    I usually silence my LMV by countering it with my PMV--productive me voice. A little "Productive Me would do [x]" tends to get me going.

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  31. I love it when I beta read a book that's so great, I stay up late and forgo the novel I was reading.

    You must be related to my mom. She's the queen of excuses. My boys take after her too. :P

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  32. Last Nov and Dec I didn't work at all on my manuscript, I'm ashamed to say. Sure I was busy with blog tours and Christmas and so forth, but please, they were just excuses. Well, with the new year, I'm back at it. Oddly enough I think I needed the break (despite the excuses) and the story seems to finally be coming together. I love New Years.

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  34. You made a tree? Impressive!
    Morgan is a sweetie...and a little ball of energy. And you're a sweetie to take the time to help her. A good beta is worth their weight in gold.

    Now you get to work too!

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  35. I'm actually someone who loves to work and I always feel weird and not like myself when I have free time.
    Due to this horrid financial crises, last year was extremely bad when it comes to work, and as someone who is always hungry for some work I feel bad :( I always have inspiration for work and for writing.
    Under work I mean book translating, since that is my business. Hope this new year will be better... othervise I have to find a new career :(

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  36. Yay! I love it when something makes LMV get up and moving. I've found that critiquing other people's work can really help inspire you to work on your own. :)

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  37. Lazy Me Voice.
    Well said.

    I don't have the props to critique others words but I have been reading published books to do something similar.

    It is helping.

    Best of luck. I hope you're still going strong!

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  38. Great Post! Congratulations to Morgan and you, for getting your muse back. I agree that reading, editing, and sometimes, for me, watching a movie gets me back in creative mode. :)

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  39. Thanks for the wonderful reminder that when we give a little, it comes back tenfold. I've been sparring with my LMV all morning, which is why I'm still reading blogs instead of working...thanks for the motivation. *runs off to edit*

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  40. What a great writing friend you are!!!

    I do love to procrastinate and am doing that right now when I should be working on my project! Oh well...

    Monti

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  41. Hallelujah! You found your muse! Sometime it comes when we least expect it, and reading is certainly good inspiration!
    I'm heading over to meet Morgan! :D

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  42. ...that's what makes this community of writers so important, all the priceless support to lean on ;)

    El

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  43. I'm so happy you found your muse. Sometimes it takes reading to be inspired. That was so giving that you put your work aside to help a fellow writer. This is what inspires me. Good luck with the writing!

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  44. I'll take the recipe! (eseckman at ymail dot com)
    I do try to eat foods that are as close to nature as I can in my daily life (makes me feel less guilty when I have a cheeseburger!). I got a Misto for Christmas so I can toss my spray can of olive oil. Now I can get the spray without the propellant. I love this thing, unlike the other ones I've tried, it doesn't leak or dribble.
    And, sigh, I have to bring the exercise back into my life. Thanks for the motivation Michael!!

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  45. That is so awesome! I love how reading a great story inspires us to delve into our own.
    I'm full of that LMV. Got to shut her up for good!

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