Everyone has their own tried-and- true process for writing. However, writing fresh viscerals—involuntary physiological responses to external factors (like bad news)—requires a whole other skill set. It’s not one I’ve seen taught very often (Margie Lawson has some great courses and an Immersion cruise with Cruising Writers this December on viscerals), but I believe this particular skill set at the heart of every tip or strategy I’ve come across on ‘how to’ write emotion.
Have you noticed the “lean-in” effect when you talk about writing to a muggle? Or how muggles and other writers smile when you explain your story idea, hands waving all over as you describe a new world, new characters, and what tickled your interest with the story in the first place?
You know what that is, right?
Creative burnout is a scary thing.
You’re blazing along, doing your work, trying to reach that elusive mirage we call success, and then all of a sudden you come up empty. No ideas, no juice, no words. Or maybe you’re still writing but the joy has gone out of it and the thing you used to love feels like a chore. Maybe you even stop writing, or maybe you make yourself sick worrying and fretting that you’ve forgotten how to write.
This can be terrifying or depressing or both.
When you’re living for the next win, you keep your sights set on the high points, on those relative two seconds of when you’re at the highest tip of the roller coaster. And when you’re living for the win, the low points aren’t the thrill dropping, stomach plunge of real roller coasters. Nope. They suck.
The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only a page. – St Augustine
I believe that travel is the single best investment you can make as writer.
I remember the first time I travelled by myself – I was sixteen and already too tall to be comfortable in the cramped window seat. My mom was sending me to Nepal to spend some time with older sister. Forced bonding time because we hated each other.
The plane taxied down the runway, building speed for take off. The sound of the engines built inside the cabin and the vibrations rumbled through my bones. Fear and excitement twisted tighter and tighter in my belly.
There used to be an old blue house next door to my parent’s lakehouse, abandoned before my parents moved in. It was an interesting cobbled-together house with three roof lines and a long balcony that stretched out over the boat dock above the water. After some investigating, we discovered that the house belonged to a … Read More
Every writer, whether they’re starting the journey or standing atop the bestseller lists, feels like they suck at some point. Demeaning words fly through their mind: imposter, sucktard, fakeball, loser.
Writer’s block. Blank page paralysis. Fear of finishing. Fear of beginning. Fear of rejection. We’ve all been there in some form or fashion. But can writing workshops help you move past this stagnant state?
I’ve always told my boys it’s a big wide world out there and to take every opportunity you can to travel. The experience broadens you. Helps you see things from a different perspective. Allows you an insight into how other people live, cultures, and amazing differences we all have. It rounds you out and helps give understanding to the world around you.
So, how do you bring this all these travel experiences into your writing?
Through all the writing conferences and writing workshops I’ve attended over the years, I’ve never been to a single talk that teaches about handling rejection. Rejection’s a hard topic, especially when most of us would rather think about the potential success. Unfortunately, as authors, we’ve chosen to be involved in an industry that requires rejection…and for most of us, a boat-load of it!
Luckily, we have some great tools to deal with rejection.