Saturday, April 9, 2011

How Writers Keep their Heads from Imploding

There’s so much we have to think about when we write a novel. Is the story right for the market? Does it fit in the genre? Do the characters have believable motivations? Are they likeable and interesting? Is there enough conflict in the story? Is the balance right between internal and external conflict? Am I showing rather than telling? Do the scenes flow smoothly? Does the book have a strong enough hook? Does the dialogue move the story forward? Are the setting and scenes vivid enough? Have I used correct grammar and punctuation? Does the story need tightening? Argh!

So, How do we keep our Heads from imploding? Rather than allowing the enormity of our undertaking to drown us, we have to take a deep breath, remember our passion, and take it one step at a time.

How do you stay sane?


Note: This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. To learn more about the challenge click the A-Z image on my sidebar.

38 comments:

  1. One thing I can say is I have never been accused of being sane! NEVER!

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  2. sometimes all i can do is put the current WIP away and work on something else. glad i don't have deadlines to make me crazy as well.

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  3. Not sure anyone would ever consider me to be sane. And that's the way I like it...

    But if I'm starting to feel a little overly insane, I'll just take a break and go do something else- anything else- for a while. Even housework...

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  4. amen. I find that if I dont write, thats when my head hurts!

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  5. That's why you have to open a vein and let the words bleed out on the page, isn't it? To relieve the pressure?

    :)

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  6. He he he, Lyndylove, I can totally picture you going overly analytic over your manuscripts :)

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  7. How do I keep sane? i'm sure I've said this before? I eat chocolate and blog! LOL!!!

    Happy H-day!!!!! Yay! Take care
    x

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  8. Oh YES, the head imploding post--you wrote it! LOL

    I just try NOT to think of all those things when I'm writing. A little bit, yes, but it's easy to get overwhelmed if you think of all that stuff during the process. A good time to think of that stuff is either before (so you can plan) and after (so you can edit/revise).

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  9. Good H post. I stay sane by exercising and making sure I step away from the desk when I need to.

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  10. I write what I love, do a good outline, editing thoroughly, and then cross my fingers as I send it out!

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  11. I write the stories I want and try to make it the best I can. And I only focus on one worry at a time. Right now, it's editing.

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  12. It has to be fun for me, I'm too good at giving up on stuff that's not :)
    Wagging Tales - Blog for Wrtiers

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  13. Took me awhile to work out which letter you're up to Lynda. I stay sane by going out for lots of coffee and sometimes cake with that, then I have to do a lot of running to work it off. Works for me. So when I'm in front of the computer I'm always happy thinking about that next coffee/run.

    Denise<3

    L'Aussie Travel A - Z Challenge Posts G is for Galapagos Islands

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  14. All that craziness is what makes writing so fun! If it was easy, then it would be boring.

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  15. It can be so difficult. I get overwhelmed if I have to many story ideas in my head, so what I have to do is write them down, or be OK with letting them go.:(

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  16. Thanks for all your comments. I'm noticing the lack of sanity seems to be the norm for writers ;)

    Dezzy, yup.. so much so that I often ruin them and end up having to go back to an old version HAHAHA

    Old Kitty, chocolate is win.

    Carol, hehe, I wanted to work it into the challenge somehow ;)

    L'Aussie, yeah, I struggled a bit for H ;)

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  17. I try to go with the flow and know that I will create what I need when I need to. But, wow, can I really relate to the never-ending negative mind chatter. I like what you said about remembering the passion and taking it one step at a time. Great reminder! Thanks!

    ~Melissa
    Reflections on Writing

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  18. All good questions to ask yourself as you write. Thanks for thought provoking post!

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  19. HAHA, I love the commenter's response above me. Bourbon...too funny.

    I take one thing at a time. I write and then go back and look for plot holes or grammar mistakes, etc. One step at a time :)

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  20. Lots and lots of notebooks to put all those ideas somewhere.

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  21. Boy how do we do it? It's a crazy life! Blogging helps me a lot. And reading posts like this that say You Are Not Alone.

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  22. I take pills.

    KIDDING!

    As you said, one step at a time is the way to go. In the earlier drafts, I let it out, and try and fill in the missing pieces later on. I'm always changing dialogue and making it stronger, but at least the foundation of what I want my characters to say is there.

    I also do my own version of meditation. I put on my soundscapes CD, lay on my back, and just zone out for an hour or so. I'm much better approaching my writing with a clear head.

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  23. I curl into fetal position and cry. Is that not normal?

    For me, I have to take it one layer at a time. Make the plot solid, then move on to character development, subplots, dialogue, etc. Baby steps, baby steps.

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  24. lol, Girl Friday, bourbon. hehe

    Karen, yes, blogging both helps and hinders me..lately I've been looking to it more as a distraction from writing..um-ah. ;)

    Paul, a friend recommended meditation to me also. I don't think I have the right frame of mind for it ;)

    Jeigh...yes, absolutely, that's normal ;)

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  25. hahaaaa it used to be chocolate... but I don't eat chocolate anymore!
    now I guess.. a glass of red... but really how do we not implode?

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  26. I just write from the heart instead of trying to be someone else...


    Duncan In Kuantan

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  27. Go for a walk or listen to some relaxing music. Keeps me somewhat sane :)

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  28. Mine has imploded so I'm taking a writing break until the muse returns! :O)

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  29. I try not to overthink it. I just write the story and worry about most of that stuff later.

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  30. Mine constantly implodes, so I need short breaks. Are we writers sane, Lynda?

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  31. I play -- with my grandchildren (and great-grandson), with my daughter's dog and games with friends.

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  32. I stay sane with diversification: when working on a manuscript becomes tedious, I'll write a blog post, skip to a short story, or email, Twitter, Facebook, or Goodread. All require that I write something so I count it the time as well-spent.

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  33. I focus on one or two things at a time--if you try and take in the whole picture, your brain would explode!

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  34. I with you, I have to things one day at a time. Love the buckets.

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  35. Sane? No one told me we were supposed to stay sane!!! Darn. :)

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  36. Michelle, what? you... don't eat chocolate anymore???? O_o How do you survive? ;)

    Rachna, absolutely not. It's part of our genius ;)

    Gail, diversification. Great :)

    Clarissa, I took the pic of the buckets on a magnificent tall ship, the James Craig (during some time-out research for a book)

    Jemi, lol, I guess we don't have to stay sane ;)

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