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Mentally Preparing Before Sitting

July 31, 2010

The topic this week at Wicked Writer’s is writer’s block. I stared at this sentence for a week! I’m just kidding. For those of you wicked readers who have surfed over this week, looking for someone to help with a problem that you either have had or are having presently, only to find a group of (mostly) unsympathetic unbelievers, waiting to feast upon you like starving vultures – I want to apologize. I want to apologize for joining in that feast!

You see, I am another who has yet to experience any real trouble with the muse or creative process of writing. Even this particular post was something that I volunteered to write only two days before. Forgive me for sounding cocky and please allow me to explain.

I write fiction. That has been the bulk of what I have been thinking about since puberty, other than a little time spent thinking about girls, that is. If you know anything about me as a writer at all, then you know why I have done little writing over the last twenty years or so. It was because I was busy with career and family, never really believing that this time would ever come. Thankfully, it did come; however, I will not bore you with those details here. What I will tell you is how the inspiration does come. I will explain how it is that I have had two short stories published, my debut novel published as an e-book (poised to become a paperback this fall), and finally the novel’s sequel written in a mere eight months.

For me, the key is to wait for the inspiration to come…but not while sitting in front of the keyboard. I have mentioned what I do in previous blogs, so some may have read this from me before. What I do is build up to the writing. Whether I am in the car, in the shower, or in bed during those first moments before I fall asleep, I remind myself where I left off the following day and allow my mind to decide what should occur next. A gestation occurs, if you will.

I do outlines, but they are extremely rough and leave a lot of opportunity for new ideas to take shape later. I remind myself where I left off the time before, so I usually know where I am heading. The next part of the story does not always come easily. Sometimes I dismiss ideas or decide what I do like out of a given brainstorming session. If I like what I am seeing in my head, then it usually powers the next part rather excitedly. If I do not like what I have, I give myself more time.

There are many moments in life for the mind to go off on tangents. Have you noticed? I’m in my early forties and have been married for over twenty years now, if I see an attractive woman, it is very easy for my mind to go places that I do not need it to go.  Therefore, this is a very helpful process on a great many levels! I am sure my wife would second that notion. All humor aside, for me, it really works.

Early on, I received many questions during interviews, where I was asked just what it was that I was attempting to convey when I created this character or that plotline. Like a George Orwell, was I hoping to issue an edict on this social disorder or warn of the corruption of some establishment? People were looking for some message or another, and I would have loved nothing better than to grin at how clever or brilliant I was compared with other writers. The truth of the matter, however, is I am just a guy who has been blessed not only to see movies playing in my head, but to also be able to write them down in a fairly descent manner, hopefully before they dissipate like pardoned ghosts.

For those of you who struggle, I wish you well. Keep writing, and keep thinking about writing. Perhaps this will help.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2010 9:46 pm

    Wholly unfair that you never struggle with the fear of putting crap to paper.

    How do you go about the process of accepting or rejecting an idea? How do you decide what’s mediocre and what isn’t?

    Interesting blog, great title, and congrats on the publications! I’ll look for it on the shelves.

    • August 1, 2010 1:35 pm

      I didn’t mean to be so relaxed about it – its just that I posted a blog about decorating my keyboard (https://annekleinberg.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/keyboard-fashion/) as a means of avoiding writing.

      I’m no expert, but I just write to write. It comes to me. As for knowing what’s mediocre, I never do know. Sometimes I love what I write and just know its right. Other times, it doesn’t sit so well with me. Best is if you have one or two friends you trust, who are good readers. Ask them and hope that they’ll be honest, but kind.

      I’ve had wonderful friends/editors read and comment on my work. I listen to what they all say – I think about whether I agree or not, and then make my decision. Anyway, I think the best thing is to just keep writing!
      All the best –
      Anne

      • James Garcia Jr permalink*
        August 1, 2010 4:30 pm

        Thanks for the comment, Anne. I had something for you this morning, but my Internet connection decided to take a nap and I ran out of time. I’m glad that you came back and left more of yourself. The whole point of all of this is to share with one another, be it info or feelings. Take care.

    • August 1, 2010 1:39 pm

      Hello, RD. It’s nice to meet you. How this works in me, I do not know. I hate to ask too many questions for fear that the magic might stop!! In any event, this is what I allow my mind to occupy itself with over the course of the time until I sit down again, as I said. I usually have tossed out the poor material, mentally, well before I sit down to the pc. Once everything is on “paper” and I am in the editing stages, then I am in the clear, so to speak with regards to writer’s block.
      Thanks for the comment. My novel is currently an e-book, available in all e-formats. Indications are that we will be in paperback this fall. I’ll be sure and keep you Wicked Readers posted. Take care.

      • August 2, 2010 9:12 am

        Hi James,

        I’m so interested in learning about e-books. I’m self-publishing and the whole concept of e-marketing fascinates me. Can you share some of your wisdom with the rest of us?
        Thanks and good luck!

  2. August 1, 2010 7:44 am

    I say if you get blocked, decorate!

  3. August 2, 2010 4:07 pm

    James,
    Hearing about your internet troubles reminds me I was in the middle of your very good book on my Kindle last week and dropped it in the bathtub. (That sounds bad – I didn’t fall asleep reading it…) I was even warned, and should have put the baggie on it first (the advice I got from a blog the previous week!). They’re sending me a new one for a small fee, but delighted to see I can still finish your book on my Mac in the meantime. And all 84 books on my Kindle will be saved.

    That in itself is worth the cost of the machine, and makes the epub thing so great.

    • James Garcia Jr permalink*
      August 2, 2010 6:21 pm

      OMG! What a terrible story. My wife had the same reaction that I did upon hearing your news. I’m glad to hear that the Kindle -meeting – water was the only shocking thing that occurred. Thanks for sharing.

    • August 2, 2010 8:29 pm

      I just got my Kindle and had already thought of the same thing – use a baggie! I’m still figuring out the ins and outs – But James’ and Kerri’s (another co-blogger of mine) books will be my first ones read (once I figure out how to download, I’m still reading the on screen manual)! And then Nikki’s and Marissa’s… and Dawn’s… damn… I gotta get reading!

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