Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Block party

Ever have one of those days at work when you feel like doing everything else but the project in front of you?

Today I spent an hour cleaning the house, even though I cleaned (some of) it yesterday. And I've finally started chipping away at my marketing/promotion to-do list.

I leap to read every new e-mail, even the spam (hmm, maybe I could use some "l0ve drugz" or a "m0rtgudge refiii").

Why the distractability? I'm starting Voice of Crow, or at least I'm supposed to start it. I have it all planned out, a writing schedule between now and July 23, my target finish date. But I'm having trouble getting in gear.

I'm not blocked. Really. I just can't focus.

So I'm going to do what I did last year when it was time to continue Eyes of Crow months after submitting the proposal. Introducing a brand-new writer's block treatment:

Write in white.

As in, change the font color to white. If you can't see what you're typing, you also can't:
  • Examine, edit and analyze as you go along
  • Start thinking about or doing something else
If either of these things happens, you'll lose your place. Writing in white is similar to "free-writing," a well-known writer's block treatment that takes the mental editor out of the picture. In free-writing, you simply write whatever comes to mind, usually with a pen and paper, for a set amount of time.

Writing in white forces you to keep the picture/narrative in your head, pouring it out on the page all at once. No breaks, no stopping to contemplate the next scene or the theme or the dishes in the sink. Just let the movie roll and write what you see and hear. It's an exercise in concentration.

When you finish, say, a page or two, you can go back and change the font color to black. Yeah, there'll be typos, but there'll also be some of the purest, least cluttered prose you've ever written. As the Cajun chef used to say, I ga-ron-tee it.

So I'm off to the Zone now, using my patentable writer's block treatment method to--

Yay! The dryer just stopped. I can fold laundry!



Jeri, I am soooo trying this after I finish these revisions. Next MS write in WHITE.




Posted by: Blogger moonhart at 5/03/2006 4:59 PM

The problem with laundry is, there's always more laundry. Gives you a great excuse to procrastinate.

Good luck in white- sounds like a great way to kick-start.

Posted by: Blogger Sharon GR at 5/04/2006 9:47 AM

I used to do something similar--I'd turn off my computer's monitor while I wrote. It's amazing the mind games you have to play with yourself as a writer! (Personally, I'm procrastinating starting my first book ever that I've sold before I've written it. Reading blogs is really good for that.)

Posted by: Blogger Jenna Black at 5/04/2006 10:56 AM

Ooh, Jenna, that's a good idea, too, turning off the monitor.

I know what you mean about writing for a contract. I sold Eyes of Crow on proposal, and writing it felt like a job--the world's greatest job, but still a job. Then i wrote Bad Company on spec (for non-writers, this means you don't know if anyone will ever want to buy it), and it felt free 'n' easy, just like the old days.

There's a certain magic in writing on spec--the book is totally yours. It doesn't belong to a corporation yet. OTOH, if it never sells, it ends up being a big fat waste of time, financially speaking. I wouldn't have done it with BC if the vampire genre weren't so hot right now, and if I didn't think the idea kicked ass. I feel confident it will sell somewhere. Someday. It has that aura. I know, because I've written books that I loved dearly that lacked that aura.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 5/04/2006 1:56 PM

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