Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One Word in Front of the Other: IWSG

If you saw this badge in your blogroll yesterday and today, you'll know that it's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I think I need to add my name to the official Alex list because I missed a couple of months, but I'm posting today anyway.

I'm in the infatuation stage of my latest WiP. Head over heels with my first chapter!

Instead of jumping right into to my ms this time with only a couple of character names, I thought about it a lot. I listened to music, wrote a lot of notes and let the ideas simmer. I've had this idea inside me for such a long time that knowing where to start overwhelmed me. I did have a couple hundred words written down from when I first attempted this last fall, but soon realized that this was not where my story needed to start. But where?

To answer that question, I needed to know not only where I wanted to start but where and how I wanted this to end, and how to get there. Actually, I had a pretty good idea on how it was going to end, but there was a huge, wide gap in the middle.

Until last week. Again, the music. I can't explain it, but somehow the story poured out as I listened to "Simple Song" by The Shins and "The Pretender" by the Foo Fighters to name a couple. Before I knew it I had a long list of plot points that I could easily organize into an outline.

Three things have helped me in this starting over process:
1. brainstorming and solitary thinking time (something that I have now that the school/work year is over)
2. an outline identifying my starting point, my ups, downs, and turning points, conflicts and resolutions.
3. reading books on writing - I want to emphasize here that I wasn't looking for any answers or shortcuts, but rather wanted read the experience of others. I learn so much by reading about other author's journeys and feel inspired to find my own way.

I just finished the first chapter and want to jump for joy. I'll admit I was afraid of where those first words would come from and if the rest would follow. And they did. Because you know what? I'm a writer and I love to write.

If you're doubting yourself and feeling insecure, I'd like to recommend a book I'm reading now called Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg. It's encouraging and reminds us that we write because we find joy in the act of expressing ourselves with the written word. Sometimes there are times  in our lives that take us away from our writing. Sometimes it's a short time while we finish a project, study for exams, take care of sick children, etc. Other times it's a long stretch - 9 long months for me - and we wonder if that same joy will return, wonder if we'll remember how to write, and wonder if it's worth starting over.

Let me assure you, if you're meant to be a writer, it's worth it. That familiar pull to spend an hour on the computer or with my notebook, the satisfaction of writing a 500 word scene without blinking and then reading it back and thinking, "Damn. This is pretty good." There's nothing like it.


  1. Great post, Suzie! I love that feeling of falling back in love with my WIP. Every time I do that the story gets better and better.

    I'm definitely going to check out that book. Love learning about other writer's journeys. Thanks for inspiring me today!

    Take care,

  2. I had the same experience with my last WIP. I did a lot of planning, but there was a gap in the middle (more like a gorge) that I hadn't thought through. Writing that middle part was really fun for me.

  3. Great post, Suzie. I've got a story I want to write that's nagging at the back of my mind. It snuck in and started bugging me again, yet I've got four books ahead of it. I need to start writing these little scene snippets down.

    Happy 4th of July!

  4. I love those days when the words just pour out - music always helps me too. And I agree - there is nothing like being a writer!

  5. I love that stage! Congrats on starting up again! You mentioned the school/work year being over. Do you teach, Suzie? Hope you enjoyed your holiday!

    1. Yep. I work as an assistant preschool teacher :)

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