Katherine Longshore 8 Wednesday, July 09, 2014
I'm filling in for Kristen today because we've been talking about Finding the Will to Write and something that happened to me a couple of months ago seemed particularly appropriate.
Kaliopi--the Muse I talk to when Kristen
isn't around.

A few of us Muses (I'm looking at you, Kristen, Beth and Talia) and some other writers had a spontaneous retreat up near Lake Tahoe--one of those stars aligned with living social deals kind of things.  It was a windy weekend, but that didn't prevent Kristen and me from taking a long walk down to the lake one day and nearly getting blown across the water to Nevada.  Both of us were going through a period of writer's block--Kristen because she had too many ideas and didn't know where to start, and me because I had none.  We hashed through some of her premises and she lobbed possibilities and scenarios at me and ended up at the nearest grocery store looking for alcohol and chocolate with neither of us any further along than we had been when we started.

I imagine that part of the problem for both of us was that we had lost the will to write.  I know I certainly had.  I'd just finished a revision of my latest WIP and sent it out to some pretty shrewd beta readers and I was terrified that it just wasn't going to fly.  I had it in my head that for my next project, I needed to find something closer to my "brand", something a little more commercial, something more...something than the book I'd been working on.

I wanted a book that would sell.  And I didn't know if I had it in me to write it.  Or anything, for that matter.

That afternoon, while the others were out at the hotel-sponsored root beer float social (yes, that's a thing), I decided to change tactics and work on something I would actually get paid for--my short story for the PETTICOATS & PISTOLS anthology.  I didn't know what I was going to write for that, either, but I had a deadline, so at least it had something going for it.

I sat down and imagined my character.  I pictured her walking into a little diner.  What she wore.  What she was expecting.  How she moved.

And I discovered that I also knew what she was thinking.  So I wrote it down.

I managed a page and a half.  Double-spaced.  It probably won't make it into the story.  But I have a clearer vision of my character, and a strong grip on her voice.  And just that page and a half--and sharing it with the Muses that night--made me feel like a writer again.

The next day, I started composting something completely different.  And I shared that--just the germ--with the Muses, too.  And I think--I hope--that this might be the next book.  I haven't really started it yet--back to revising the WIP.  But it's growing.  And the compost is definitely fertile.

I'm not saying it will work for everyone.  I'm not even saying it will work for me next time.  But perhaps just the act of writing can help reignite the will to write.  And perhaps--just perhaps--sharing those seeds with others can help it grow.

We have an old saying here at the Muses that the prize in this pie-eating contest is more pie.  I guess sometimes, you just have to start eating.


Top row: Kari Young and Beth Hull
Middle row:  Kristin Elizabeth Clark, Kristen Held, Corrine Jackson
Katherine Longshore, Talia Vance
Bottom:  Karen Langford


Pie or Ben & Jerry's, right? I <3 you, Katy! You always know just what to say.


And another word. And another. And another.

Enjoy the pie!

Wonderful, Katherine! I do believe there is a chemical reaction that happens in our brains when we write that fuels more writing. More pie, anyone?

Ben & Jerry's definitely works, Kristen! Thanks for getting me through that rough patch.

I try to have some every day, Beth. :)

Yes, Robin! At least, that's what I'm counting on.

Yes, just write. I am spending this Sunday catching up on reading blogs, and the act of commenting is actually getting me into a frame of mind to write something...maybe a blog post at least, I am resistant to anything longer today...
On another note Katherine, I just finished "Gilt" and I loved loved loved it. Thank you. I really do not read historical fiction much, but am trying to read the books of the writers on this blog. I am a Medieval studies gal, but mainly the literature from that time period (Christine de Pisan, Dante, Chaucer and Boccaccio). In other words, I was surprised that I could get that into historical fiction. Yay.

Good luck today, Laura! Writing something--comment, blog post, short story, thousand words, whatever--is always a win.

And thank you! I'm so glad you loved Gilt--it means a lot to hear that from someone so immersed in the culture.

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