FWIS: writing time

FWIS (from where i stand) is a monthly feature i’m doing with jessica corra and bria quinlan. all three of us are YA writers in different places in our journeys. (check out their links for this month’s FWIS from their points of view.)

today’s topic: writing time


my writing time of late has felt a bit like that picture — scattered and spread out.

i started off WIP #3 with a bang. i got through 21K in about 4 weeks, which while not much, is some sort of record for me. but then i left tire marks on the asphalt as the brakes kicked in. i haven’t written anything in about 3 weeks. i’m not sure why those brakes were applied or how to undo them.

i’ve continued to do some RESEARCH:

i’ve read a bunch of books in a variety of  genres (ENDER’S GAME, THE WITNESS, THE GURNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL, UNDER THE NEVER SKY, and IN A FIX, to name a few) in hopes of igniting my brain.

i’ve FLESHED OUT some of the other characters in my WIP. my PLOT outline is skeletal, but in working order. i’ve napped. i’ve eaten. i’ve exercised. i’ve watched DOWNTON ABBEY and just started SHERLOCK (love it!). i’ve talked on the phone. i’ve emailed. i’ve performed a complicated series of sacrifices (aka spring cleaning + putting my room AC unit in the window) all in the hopes of paving a path back to creativity.

all the gears are lined up. all that’s left to do is for me to put my butt in the chair and write — and yet — it keeps feeling like this:

today i found lots of beautiful skies that i wanted to collect but couldn’t.

i don’t know if it’s because i don’t have any real deadlines or if it’s because i’m waiting for a sign before i begin again. i do know that i have no idea what size or shape or color that sign will be. i’m also not sure what that sign will say, but hopefully it’ll be something along the lines of, “it’s time to start writing again, your highness” instead of something more like a slap across the face.

though that would certainly get my attention.

how do you use your writing time? is it productive? creative? full of you staring out the window? what do you do to get the momentum going again? how do you deal with a lack of deadlines? have you ever been slapped? (if yes, how come?!?!)

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8 Responses to “FWIS: writing time”

  1. lindagrimes Says:

    Not gonna lie–there IS something very motivating (and panic-inducing *grin*) about a deadline. It was weird for me to finish book 2 in my series with that contracted due date hanging in front of me. (Maybe the adrenaline helped.)

    When I was working on my very first novel (the one that currently resides in my desk drawer), I dawdled a lot. I think I was afraid to finish it, because then I would have to acknowledge its flaws. As long as I wasn’t done, it was always fixable.

    Eventually, I told myself, darned if I was going to die with an unfinished novel as my writing legacy. (Morbid much? I know, right?) At the very least, even if I never got published, I wanted to FINISH the darn book.

    So I did. And you know what? Once I knew I was capable of finishing a book, the next one was easier. :)

    • abby mumford Says:

      now there’s an interesting “deadline” to impose upon yourself, but yet, a very valid one too. and also, thanks for your honesty about why you dawdled on finishing that first novel…perhaps there’s some of my truth in there too.

  2. Bria Quinlan Says:

    I LOVE deadlines (as the entire world knows) – and I think they’re good practice for when we *have* to hit them.

    But, to throw another idea out there — when I can’t write, I put out an open call to the world for crits. The more painful a cut the writer’s looking for, the better. There’s something about using a different part of your writing brain to kick start your own words.

    You’ll find your kick start process! It’s there and you’ll make it spark the rest of your writing ;)

    • abby mumford Says:

      an open call for crits?!!? that sounds terrifying. absolutely horrifying and paralyzing. and probably exactly what i need. eek, i think the thought of having to show my work to someone just jump started me. no way can anyone see my work in the shape it’s in!

      • Bria Quinlan Says:

        LOL – No, I do an open call that I’m WILLING to crit things. Forces your brain to work completely differently and think about all the things you *should* be thinking about but can’t because your living in your own blind spot.

        It’s so much easier to think about writing when you’re not emotionally attached to it. Critting something kicks you out of the “but I can’t do that…But she needs to do this…But the reader needs to know…” ;)

        • abby mumford Says:

          ha ha. phew. that makes a lot more sense. i can handle that. i’ve actually done that for a few people lately, so it seems i’m ahead of myself!

  3. Grandpa Says:

    Looks like you’re writing about Inertia. When at rest, the body tends to remain at rest. When in motion, it tends to stay in motion. Love, Grandpa

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