Friday, January 30, 2009

Red light, Green light

My daughter keeps insisting that I do my 10 pet peeves of driving, so I thought I'd do it this morning. I started looking for pictures I have of roads and traffic, etc., and when I saw this one, another idea struck, so... Sorry, Sweetie! Pet peeves postponed!

Here's a trip down my thought processes lane. Buckle your seat belts it can be a scary ride. 

Red light-->oh, NY-->I love that shot-->stop-->inhibitions-->What makes me stop writing?-->

So here's a list of 5 the things that red light me (There are way more. These are a few highlights.) and how I get the green light shining:

1.  Steinbeck--a few years ago when I writing and making progress with a story, I read East of Eden. It seriously stopped my writing cold with feelings of complete unworthiness. At that time it was Steinbeck, but any incredible wordsmith can do that to me, so I try not to read their works when I'm writing.

2. Trying to write something different than what is in me. I write YA. A while back a published author friend of mine was telling me that her agent was searching for novels for adult women--that was what was hot. I started trying to make myself write for that. I got so frustrated that I stopped writing again. Now, I just let the story that I want to tell come out and hope for the best with the agent/publishing side of things.

3. Blogging--I talked about that last week, and I'm controlling that one pretty well. Yippee!

4.  Distractions--I'm very easily distracted by so many things that, when I set aside time for writing, I have to eliminate all that I can. No internet with email pinging me in the background, no TV, no children interrupting. That's where the music helps me. When I did my post about music, I was surprised at how many found it a distraction. To me it covers up the distractions. It really doesn't make sense, does it?

5.  Plot stagnation--Last year, I got to talking with another published author friend about a story of my daughter's that I loved. She had lost interest in continuing with it, and he said that whenever that happens to him he goes back in the story (a chapter or however long it takes) until the story feels "true" again, and then he picks up from there and lets the story take him in a different direction where it really "wants" to go. And that usually jumpstarts him. This got me thinking about something that I had been working on that had stagnated. I followed his advice, and, I have to say, it's some of the best writing advice I've ever gotten. If my book ever gets published, he'll definitely be getting a shout out.

What gives you a red light? and how do you make it green?


Justus M. Bowman said...

I haven't been writing long enough to encounter many red lights, but the baby has changed things...

I've been struggling to make myself create query letters and a synopsis; however, today is the day I send it all out. After that, I'm going to make a daily or weekly word quota. That should keep me focused.

lotusgirl said...

Justus, Babies change so many things! Good luck with the queries!

Captain Hook said...

That is excellent advice he gave you, Lois!

*runs off to try it on all my stagnant WIPs (of which there are many)*

Natalie said...

Let's see, my kids res light stuff pretty fast. When I'm a little down, sometimes I struggle writing. But for the most part, my problem is stopping...I think I need more red lights.

lotusgirl said...

Sarah, It has probably helped more than any other one specific bit of advice.

Natalie, My kids are definitely the big red lighters in the distraction department. They turn on the TV. They talk to me. They want to eat or need supervision... and on and on... haha! They also inspire me though, so not all distractions are bad ones.

Captain Hook said...

See, I like background noise while I'm writing. When my laptop is working and it's late at night, I'll go to Denny's to write just for the people and noise.

PJ Hoover said...

I totally hear you on those feelings of unworthiness when you read something fantastic.

Lady Glamis said...

I love that you mention Steinbeck. I get the red light anytime I read something well-written. Even if it's a fellow unpublished writer's work.

Darcy is a major red light.


And depression.

However, each of these things actually HELPS me get to a green light, if that makes any sense. Reading great work teaches me what is good, Darcy inspires me, blogging helps me connect, and depression teaches me to appreciate the depth of human emotion.

beth said...

I like the idea of going back to the point where it felt and taking out the rest.

My red light....

1) TV: I use it as relaxation. Just one show, I tell myself...but there's an hour gone, and then I get hooked into another one, and I've just got to force myself to turn it off and get to work.

2) Critiques: I love them, I really, really do, but sometimes I get more involved in others' work than my own.

3) Rejection: I'm not sure where my breaking point is, but after a certain number of rejections (or after a rejection from an agent I really hung some dreams on), a rejection just kills me with ideas of unworthiness.

beth said...

(PS: After reading The Adoration of Jenna Fox, I stopped writing for weeks. It was that good.)

lotusgirl said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels unworthy when reading great writing.

It's true that helps me learn to write well though. It's quite a conundrum.

As in all things we just have to reach a happy medium.

celeste said...

Well, you did it! You ended my blog lurking and prompted a comment. I actually logged on today to comment on Wednesday's post. My all time favorite book is Steinbeck's East of Eden. Remember, we both read it for the first time a couple of years ago. Had no idea it got in the way of your own creative process. But, great books are always even better when shared with a friend. Gosh, I miss you! And, on a side note, Mamma Mia would have been a Lois and Celeste Girl's Night Out Movie!!!

lotusgirl said...

Celeste! Yeah, I remember it. I'm glad I was able to get you to quit lurking and make a comment. I love comments. Steinbeck can definitely craft a sentence. Yes, Mamma Mia would have! I miss the Girls' Night out movie with you.