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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Insecure Writers' Support Group November 4, 2015

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is IWSG day. The once-a-month blog hop started by Alec Cavanaugh . IWSG = Insecure Writers' Support Group (click the words to visit)

Today's cohosts are: Stephen Tremp,Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson.  

They will be visiting everyone and his brother and adding useful comments (I can attest to this) and are, in addition, interesting and useful contributors in their own rights.  Go ahead and visit them.  While you're at it, stop by the web page for the IWSG: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

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Like everyone who writes, I have spent time trying to stem the spate of fabulous (to me, at least) words that came tumbling from my fingertips (or my ball point pen, depending on where I was).  Words that said just what I wanted to, that surprised me, that were a delicious surprise and so very fitting to what I was hoping to produce.  Better, in fact.

Never mind the fact that everyone else was reacting to my (read aloud) words in a fashion that made me realize that they had ears stuffed with earwax and could not hear my wonderful words.  I  knew they were good.

And, actually, when I looked the words over and worked on them and straightened them out, they actually were pretty decent, said what I wanted to say in a way that I thought was good (you do, after all, have to have some confidence in your own ability.  Running around and saying 'I'm just terrible!' is no more modest and truthful than shouting that you're the best writer ever to come along.) 

The times do come, however, when the words themselves won't come.  When I'm too tired to write, even though I want to tell a story and have an idea where the story is going.  I"m just too tired.

That has been happening recently.  Things get in the way.  Time gets away from me.  I just don't have the time (I think), or I just don't have the strength.  Or - and this is a major concern for me - the two stories that I have in the works have become stale.  I just...can't...move.

And we all, or at least I  do, need to write.  I'm a writer, aren't I?

I joined NaNoWriMo, thinking that cranking out 50K words to flesh out one of my WIPs would be the perfect way to kick off a new, lively, vital endeavor.  1400 words per day is not bad.  Let us be reasonable, here.  1400 words equals about 6 pages of double-spaced 12 point font typing.  A piece of cake.  

The first day of NaNoWriMo, I got in late, sat down, fired up my trusty laptop, and got ready to just write.  I closed my eyes, positioned my fingers on the keyboard, and typed my little heart out.  And, ladies and gentlemen, here is a part of what I wrote, as I discovered the next day, trembling with anticipation.  I kid you not, cross my heart and hope to die:

(Note: this would be book 3 of my Memphis Cycle, set in the Egypt of Ramesses the Great)

It was midnight and he was in the library of Opet.  Room after room, filled  with the scent of parchment and ink.  Tallow-topped torches at in the brackets along the wall. The golumes stood in rows against the walls, their contents carefully noted, tyheir writers loggedin the register.  He knew there were some there written by Amunhorkhebechef, Crown Prince of Egypt He di dot try to locat them.  His memory of the dispatches he had written were devastaig to thos wh o did hot know better.je [pire dfrp the fasl at jos be;t/  oOt was
He was writing by tye light of a single lamp.  Troop movements, ,bits of wisdom from thutors Iii. This was wor that he enjoyed, but it was gruelojng  His ajestywrote I a tight hand, rigidly daoj Ahw dlla  OR DE HWWLRH, " HW iwa deo ou
 Je njad dpe jos dit9oes [er the guidance received fro hiu pve tjselves  She was a queen, a beauty, a woje to love a follow through light.

Dang, that's good, no?  Just makes you want to read more, right?  Rush right out and pull out eveything that Diana Wilder has written, it touches your soul so profoundly.  Yeah, I agree.  743 words of pure fabulosity!  Wow, whoopee ding!

Yeah, right...

I scrapped NaNoWriMo.  It was a rough patch for me, and I might as well accept it, thought I.  These times come.  They're the bad times that balance the good times through which you must work.  Hitch up your courage, take a deep breath, resolve to hang in there and put out a word here, a word there...  Watch it add up...

Well, folks, let me tell you what happened today.  I was sitting at my 'real' job, and a sudden twist of plot popped into my head. What if...?  Hmmmm...  It was a busy day.  I paused and thought about it, long enough to make an impression so that I could remember it, and moved on.  This evening, sitting with friends, I had a sudden idea for a conversation that would follow that twist.  Perfect!  It would work!  It brought new life to the story and added depth!  I opened my purse and looked for my notebook.

Not there.  Dang!  I cast about for something to write on: anything at all!  And I found some cash register receipts.  The backs were blank.   I did have my trusty pen (three, in fact).  I started jotting.

My friends watched me in silence, their eyebrows raised.  One of them said "Do you want to borrow my notebook?  I have one in my purse..."  I gave her The Look and kept writing.  And here is what I have:

Not terribly legible, but it captures a bit of conversation that I can work with.  And, more importantly, it captures that spark of inspiration I had at my desk.  I am very familiar with these characters, I know their quirks, and if they existed outside my own head, I'd invite them to lunch in a little local place I discovered that makes the best BLT sandwiches and has moreover, poetry nights with open mikes.  It would be a lot of fun.  They are people of humor and substance.  And they had, somehow, stepped in and saved my story.

...And NaNoWriMo is back on.

The point to all this is that, yes, the difficult times are there.  Creating anything always involves a struggle, as a philosopher said.  We all tend toward Chaos, and creating something out of nothing is fighting against that chaos.  Or so one writer whom I really admire said.  Whatever the underlying cause, my lesson, which I pass on, is not a new one:

Hang in there.  Let things work together, do what you can - and be prepared to be surprised.

Visit the other blogs on this wonderful hop.  I guarantee, the other bloggers have a lot more to say, and a lot more on point.  (Cough!)


  1. Hi Diana - seems to be the way ... but I'm delighted to read you had those ideas and were able to get jotting down the notes ... good luck with the rest of NaNo month ...

    Cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks, Hilary. Not sure I'll make the 50K, but I'll try - and it may straighten out that work in progress!

  2. Yes! Creativity doesn't rest for long. Good luck with NaNoWriMo.

  3. Sometimes Creativity digs a thumb into your ribs and laughs!

  4. Hahahaaa...laughing at your first attempt. Funny, I've written the same words at one time. It's amazing how at any given time an idea pops into your head and you just have to go with it!!!!!! I've never even thought about NaNo because my brain doesn't create that fast. Good Luck to YOU!!!! Love those quotes!

  5. Thanks, Cathrina! I guess there are things that are common to all of us - overwhelming inspirational thoughts that have no sense of timing or the availability of paper and pen. It's all good.

  6. ha! I love your writing sample. I have woken up to re-read files like that, mostly from similar too-tired writing times. lol
    Here's to more creative spurts, and plenty of spare note-pads on which to capture them :)

    1. Thank you, Amiebea - I think it's my best effort yet. (I now have a real notepad in my purse...)

  7. Inspiration hits at such inopportune times! Bully for you for seizing it. Good luck with the rest of the month.

    1. Thanks for visiting! Let's see what I do to night, fully awake with a real piece of paper!

  8. Riveting, lol. I hope you were able to translate the writing inspiration. Seriously though, I think that situation happens to me about 100 thousand times per story - finished or not. I love that just write it quote you have. Very true; and you did write something to revise at least. Good luck Diana :)

    1. What worries me is that it may well be the best I've ever written. Maybe I should hire myself out as a 'method' teacher. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. To those four people who were kind enough to comment, and whose comments are not here (I think one of you is Beth) please forgive me. It is late, it has been a long week, and I am a nitwit. I clicked all your posts, went to click the 'post' command and somehow managed to engage the 'delete' button. And I can't get them back.

    You have made me smile, and I am grateful that you stopped by. I am also an idiot. But I already said that...

  10. Your first NaNo writing is hilarious! I'll admit I cried a little while reading it. Either it's so moving or just so funny.

    Thanks for sharing it!

  11. This was hysterical! I LOVE your sense of humor! I'll definitely be back for more :-)

    Cheers - Ellen

  12. Thank you, Cynical Sailor Ellen - I was smiling as I read your blog, as well. And reading that beautiful piece of prose I put out continues to make me laugh.

  13. Thanks for sharing the trials, Diana! I'm so glad you're fired up and away again. Ah, the peaks and troughs of the writer's life. :-) You have to love it, right?

  14. Ha ha ha...the visual of frantic receipt writing is priceless!

    Hope you have a great, colorful Fall weekend, Diana!