Day 8

It has been more than a week in my unofficial participation in National Novel Writing Month. Yay!

Got up early and spent about two hours in front of the computer. I can’t report that I got that much done, I’m afraid, but I was there, fingers poised over keys and occasionally pressing them.

Today I jumped back on the novel. With my potential solution in my head thanks to my driving yesterday, I hoped that I’d whip out the scene in no time. Unfortunately, my head is still in blocked mode as far as this scene goes. I decided to start the scene from scratch in a new Word document and paste into the novel when it’s done, thinking the change would cleanse my mind. Not so much. I wrote the start of the scene about five times. Finally, about 30 minutes before it was time to stop, I got a rhythm going, and I hope to continue that tomorrow.

This block has been so weird. It’s just about this one scene, because the new story has been flowing fine.

What do you do to fix blocks? Any tips?

I also wanted to link over to agent Nathan Bransford’s blog post from today, called Tough Times and the Publishing Industry Stimulus Package. In it, he gives a run down on the current state of the publishing industry, and as you can guess, it’s not all good news. But the part I wanted to talk about was the part where he says “BUY NEW BOOKS.”

Like him, I understand that we don’t always have the money to spend on new books. Used books still have the same words, and libraries are even cheaper: free. But buying a new book is the only way to help authors and publishing houses stay in business, and if we want to have a future career in publishing, we need to support authors and publishing houses.

Especially new authors, because we want publishing houses to continue to take chances on new authors. That is, afterall, what we want to be. As Nathan Bransford says, publishing houses decide whether to continue to publish an author’s work based on sales of their previous books. So, signing that one contract with a publishing house doesn’t mean you’ll now have a long career as a novelist. If that first book doesn’t do well, you’ll have a tough time selling another one.

I’m currently reading The Unnameables, by Ellen Booraem, a first-time author repped by KT Literary. I actually found out about the book on the blog of KT Literary’s Kate Schafer. It’s a great book, and I’m whipping through it — which is incredible for me, because I read very slowly; it’s a curse. I bought the book along with Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean, which Atheneum Books’ Emma Dryden talked about in a seminar in the 2007 SCBWI summer conference and I’ve been itchy to try ever since. Peter Pan will be my next read.

For us writers, reading is next to writing as the best way to improve our skills. And reading what’s new in your field helps you to also keep up with what’s going on in the industry. So go to the bookstore — any bookstore but support independents as much as you can — and buy some books, as much as your wallet will allow, of course.

Also, promote books to those around you. Christmas is coming up, so consider books as gifts before anything else. You might just make a new reader.

Ok, off my soapbox now. I really would like to know any getting out of writer’s block tips if you’ve got them.

Write On! and Read On!


2 Responses

  1. Ellen B. says:

    This is a little awkward, since you just talked about my book and I don’t want you to think I’m stalking everyone who mentions my book. (Although I do have Google Alerts on my side.) (Oh, and thanks, by the way.)

    But I do have a writer’s-block-vanquishing trick that got me out of a good scare two months after I quit my job (Quit! My! Job!) to write The Unnameables. And it seems to be working still, five years later. I leave the work in progress, open a new document, and start writing stream of consciousness journal entries in the voice of one of my characters. Nothing earthshaking…the weather, what was for lunch, how mean Suzie was at recess, although sometimes something earthshaking will sneak in. So far (knock on wood) I end up working out the jitters and gaining new insights into the character and even some plot points.

    Good luck! And congrats for doing NaNoWriMo, however informally. I’ve never gotten up the courage…

  2. Thanks, Ellen. That’s a great tip. I will definitely use it. I imagine that getting into your character’s head in an informal setting could really nudge some ideas.

    And, don’t worry, no stalking thoughts came to my head. Happy to have you.

    Congratulations on The Unnameables. And congratulations on quitting your job to write it! Don’t have the courage for NaNoWriMo? Quitting your job took courage enough. It definitely panned out. I look forward to your next book.

What do you think?