Category Archives: Writers Block

Three Things Thursday

1. Shower Inspiration: Something to Try During NaNoWriMo

Perhaps you have gotten stuck in a place in your novel. You have no idea what to do. Where to go. How to move on.

So, dude (at first I said dud–which is how I sometimes feel when I am writing!), take a shower.

On Tuesday I was in the shower when I was hit with the beginning of the new novel Ann Dee and I are going to write together. The whole opening (very short) and the next scene. Right as I was showering. I wrote a few notes on the steamy glass then screamed for someone to please come here quick, please, hurry, with paper, please I am begging you, hello? where are you? anyone? ANYone? I need help and after about 25 minutes of crying in the wilderness  someone ran in (blindfolded) and jotted down the words for me (un-blindfolded).

This reminded me of an article I read of people who MUST write. All the time, Even in the Shower. And how there was a woman who had to write, no matter what, and had a special shower pen. The article ended with ‘just because she had to write didn’t mean what she wrote was that great.’

(not us, huh)

What do I need?

That shower pen.

Why am I telling you this?

At that tough place in your writing, try and relax. Let your mind do the work. Try taking a shower. Be prepared for inspiration, because it will come.

NOTE: I have been thinking about this book Ann Dee and I are going to write for some time. I’ve been letting my brain prepare me for this story.

ANOTHER NOTE: This almost always happens when I shower, or right before bed, or when I allow myself to just think without worrying. As my mom would say, “When I unlax.”

2. Question for Today: Your character has just discovered something very important. What is it? What does it mean to the story? Write to that a little in your word count.

3. At some point today I am going to include the covers to both my books coming out next year. And maybe re-include Ann Dee’s cover, too.

What would YOUR cover look like? Jot down three sentences that describe the way you think YOUR cover–to this NaNo book you are writing–would look.




Filed under CLW, Exercises, Plot, three thing thursday, Writers Block, writing process

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee!

Kyra here.

My novel is winding down. I’ve told myself that I will face a social punishment if I don’t get it done by the 1st of November.
I’m SO close. It was supposed to be done over a week ago but I haven’t been writing as I should.
Because I always start to slow down at the end. And that’s making finishing this difficult.
But if I can get it done by the first, then I should be getting some sort of reward. Not sure what yet though….

My baby sister turns 16 tomorrow.
What did you do on your 16th birthday?
Maybe that’s something I need to write about in my notes to myself. .. Hmm
Either way.
I have also come up with a new plot for a bee story. I think it will be my nano next month.

Leave a comment

Filed under Kyra, Writers Block, writing process

Guest Blog: John Bennion

John has blogged for us before. He teaches at BYU and leads some amazing writing classes. He’s smart, kind and funny. He has a book of short stories and a novel published, both with Signature books. He’s also published a TON of short fiction.

Carol wants to know about my writing struggles and how I’m overcoming them. Am I overcoming them?  What a novel idea! I think she really just wants to pour alcohol in my wounds.

My struggles:

I feel so good when I write. I’m in my natural space when I’m wrestling with words and ideas, imagining characters or reimagining real people. It’s satisfying work. You can feel the “but” coming and here it is—but so much else gets in the way. My daughter’s divorce hearings, my mother’s heart problems, the psychological and moral struggles of my children that I want to fix. Then there is my teaching, the designing of questions and the reading of papers, both of which I love, but which take time. The peaches and tomatoes that need to be bottled before they rot.  The blog I need to write two weeks late for my friend. All these things that want my attention. I know that when I write for myself first that these things will still work out, my life will stumble on. But when I’m out of the habit of writing before I enter the fray of my life, it’s so difficult to get back to the computer.

Then there’s the trouble of the writing itself, which one of my teachers said is harder than wrestling alligators. I can avoid the work and have the appearance of writing, sitting at my desk, daydreaming or moving a word from here to there and back again, deciding whether to leave a comma in or not.  Or I can inflict the pain on myself and confront the difficult questions that the writing demands. I can face the conflict until I channel it. Oh, how good that feels afterward! It’s like running or lifting weights, so painful to think about doing, but so joyful when you look back at it.

I also struggle with the fact that editors and agents are blind to how brilliant I am.  Why don’t they snap up what I send them? Why aren’t they begging for the scraps of paper I write my ideas on?  Getting a rejection letter still hurts.

Voice. I struggle with voice, or with imagining a voice that isn’t my middle-aged WASP self.  I have an essay voice, or I do sometimes, but I worry about my fiction voice.

My overcoming (or the hope of it):

I’ve been in a writing slump for a few weeks. No, for at least a month. How will I get out of it? Writing this helps. (Thanks, Carol, for the stinging pain; I first typed the stinking pain, which is also right.) I can make sure that the first thing I do after I finish breakfast is to get my butt in the chair.  I can imagine the painful pleasure of having a story that that my brain is working over that I’m anxious to get back to.  I can learn again to say “no” or “later” to my family, friends, and my other, lesser job, the one that makes money.  Very difficult to do.

So, Medic Carol, I’ll get back to you with a report of my progress.


Filed under CLW, Revision, Voice, Writers Block, writing process

Victoria Candland AND The Day of Accountability

I want to thank my lovely friend Carol for giving me the opportunity to guest-post on this fabulous blog.

Something that has been on my mind lately as I’ve been writing my historical young-adult novel is not restricting my first draft. The first draft is the time to throw everything at the page even if it’s total cheeseball because my writing tends to swing in that direction—I’m writing romance, you know how cheesy writing romance can get.

Oftentimes when I write the first draft of a scene, I delete about half of it in dismay. It’s not working! Wow, that line sucked! That dialogue was ridiculous. I should quit now because this story will never become what it is in my mind.

I know you do this too. We all do this. The solution is simple: stop it. Never restrain the first draft. Put the editor to rest and the creator to work.

I’ve been trying this new approach to first draft writing and it is the most freeing feeling. It’s like not wearing your bra all day long even when you’re out in public. Give your first draft all the cheesiness it can handle and bombard it with the goods. Restraint comes with revision.

Annie Dillard, who is one of the best writers of all time, says it best: “One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better.”

Give the first draft anything and everything; give it all that you are.



Thank you, Miss Victoria. Even her name is the name of a romance writer, huh?

All right–just checking in with you all.

How’s the writing going? Are you getting to your goals?

I just finished one book that needed a final look-see.

Now I have another book to do a strong rewrite on. This always takes me longer than I think it will. Today I have to work like crazy because I told my agent I’d be done this week.


That means I haven’t had a chance to write any of my One-Legged Rooster book. Boo!

That book is nearing completion and I am anxious to finish a first draft.



I love my job.

What about the rest of you? What’s going on with your goals?

How did you do?

Did writing go well? Was it harder than you expected? Easier this week?

Let us know and have a  happy writing weekend.

By the way, I have several friends who check in with me and tell me how they did with their writing. I share my goals with them, too. This is a nice way to be accountable. Please feel free to use this site as the place where you talk about your successes–whatever they are (they don’t have to be only writing) and failures. Knowing you should report will make you write more and sharing may help you through a difficult part of your story.



Filed under Plot, Writers Block, writing process