Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mind Games---Want to Play? #amwriting w/ #writerprobs

(Post 7 of my November Journal Challenge!)

I have to be in a certain head space in order to write. If I am too stressed I can't write but if I'm not writing, I feel stressed! It is a cycle that can get ugly real quick. 

But why can't I just sit down and write?

Because I am such a hot house flower when it comes to writing. I have to be comfortable, fed, and have hours stretched out before me with nothing to do. No pressing appointments. No student essays staring at me from a pile on my desk. It can't be too sunny or I want to go out and play. It can't be too rainy or I want to go back to bed. I can't be too bored or I'm understimulated. I can't have too much to do or I'm distracted.

And no, I don't waste tons of time showering and all that in order to get to my desk and get the work done.

In fact, I am usually unwashed, haphazardly dressed and generally disheveled when I show up at my desk. I would be embarassed for anyone to see me in my usual "writer's uniform."

And it isn't that I don't have goals. I tell myself that my goal is to write 2000 words a day. If I write 1000+ I'm happy.

The problem is once I sit down to write, I often don't quite know what to do with myself. I have all these visions in my head of what I should be doing and how the writing should be going.  And all these "shoulds" often shut me down entirely and the "words of wonder" well goes dry.

You would think after two published books, it would be easier. That I could just sit down and type by now. I mean it sounds easy enough. 1. go to the computer 2. Turn it on. 3. Start typing.

But it is never that easy!
But why is it so hard, Kory? You just make up shit and write it down, right?
So why am I bothering to write this post about how hard writing is? Because I feel like writers don't talk about that enough--especially the super famous ones. I want more people to tell me how hard and imperfect the art is. But more often writing is portrayed as a magical  process where all the words just come to you and the stories are perfect, amazing, and beautiful and everyone skips to the bank clutching their fat royalty checks. 

But that illusion hinders--it doesn't help. It keeps me from simply saying "Yeah, I've got 30 minutes, so I"m going to write. So what if those words suck or if I can only get 10 on the page. To hell with Hollywood standards!"

Stephen King, churning out ALL THE BOOKS

So here I am saying that while yes, some days are good and the writing is amazing and there is no better head space in the world than that--more often, writing is work. Serious work. 

But I won't let that stop me.


  1. I fight the same demons daily. I had a dear friend of mine from the Gay and Lesbian Health Alliance of South Australia want to do a Skype video chat with me the other night when I was writing. I scrambled so badly for clothes that looked decent that I missed the call. She has been a steadfast supporter of my writing from the beginning and loves that I make my main characters strong independant women in a typically male situation of saving the day. I owe her quite a bit for her continued support and encouragement when I get down. I missed my deadline today due to a migraine, she was the first person to send me a message telling me it was OK. I couldn't have a better friend/fan/supporter.
    I have an addiction that hurts as well. I love to talk to my three kids, I love to talk to my super wife, Both of these derail my writing regularly during the day. Now I only write from midnight until six AM while everyone is asleep. Another thing I have done to help keep me focused was building multiple computers for different tasks. I have a computer that chokes and dies when I try to get on Ello, Facebook, Tsu, Twitter, or any other social network. I only have writing software on that computer and it helps me stay on track. If I need to look something up I switch to one of the others just long enough to look up the piece I need for my story.
    The final piece that has helped me tremendously was becoming a fountain pen junkie. I have a small collection of fountain pens in my favorite ink (each story has it's own color) , Fountain pen specific notebooks for notes, ideas, timelines and clues as well as full character bios per your character list you published a while back.
    In the end I have only missed twelve self imposed deadlines. I have written between 1200 and 3400 words a day every day since november last year. Eight of those twelve days was due to migraines. Your stories inspire my writing, You are one of the few writers I have seen that writes a strong female character without the need to make her some pristine princess needing rescue.
    In the end, we all need help. My wife is my ideal woman, she doesn't need saving, she doesn't need anything to be successful or strong. I thought it was pertinent to let you know that your characters mean something. finding a perfect balance for writing has never been a fixed state of being for me, I am sure you find that to be true as well. I am totally supposed to be writing now that my migraine is gone, but I thought I would respond here first.
    Happy Writing and I hope the comfort and words find you ready to spread them across the document. I can't wait for your next book.

    1. This is an awesome and thoughtul reply! I am so excited to meet you in February at the reading! :D