Tag Archives: writer’s block

To Blog or Not to Blog…

That is the question. Sometimes it’s damn hard to find something to write about or in which you might be interested. It’s not a problem uncommon to bloggers who regularly write.

I even found an interesting article about IBM’s Blog Muse which helps bloggers get past blogger’s block.

Unfortunately, I understand the system is not readily available to all bloggers. 🙁

That means the rest of us will still have to decide whether to blog and what to blog about. Which leads to this question:

What would you like to see me blog about?!

I know you love those luscious men on Wednesdays and the excerpts from myself and friends on Wednesdays, but what about the rest of the time? What things would you like to see?

Kiss Me, Kill Me Tuesday – A Writer’s Inspiration

One of the things that has been coming up often on the ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH blog tour are questions about how I get the inspirations for the books that I write.

Which makes me vaguely remember a quote somewhere about writers being able to talk to themselves without being labeled crazy (or at least not at first) and some very popular writer kinds of T-shirt quotes, such as:

    Watch out or you’ll end up in my novel.
    I kill off my enemies in my book. You’re on page 12.

Truthfully, those quotes are accurate. For example, a very nice waiter was the inspiration for the Ryder name. Roman mythology helped create Ryder’s lover, Diana. I confess to killing off at least one person who truly pissed me off in very gruesome fashion. Last, but not least, the names of friends and family have graced characters that I like, sometimes more than once.

But beyond that, where the ideas originate is difficult to say, although it is safe to say that a writer’s mind never stops observing and recording those things around them in order to use those observations in a story. Whether it’s a meal that you savor or where you eat it, a walk along a street with a different vibe, a new city that you visit… Any and all of those life experiences may germinate the kernel of an idea that takes root and grows into a story.

STRONGER THAN SINTake STRONGER THAN SIN for instance. You may have heard me mention on other blogs that the idea for the genetic engineering came about as a result of my science major geekdom. But my love of sports was what influenced the hero’s occupation. Rather than choosing baseball, which is more a game of physics and strategy, I needed the hero to suffer serious physical injury in a bone-crushing collision. Bazinga-he had to be a football player. Someone big and powerful cut down in the prime of his life.

Enter the heroine who I had already introduced in SINS OF THE FLESH, but who I came to love and needed her own big story. Was it coincidence that she was a doctor in book one? No because I needed someone who could offer medical assistance on the sly in that book. Was it coincidence that she was training to be an orthopedic surgeon? Not really either since I knew even then the second story was going to be about someone with a bone disease and I also had a friend with that profession who I could ask questions about treatments, etc.

My life experiences and influences eventually led to ex-football player Jesse Bradford and Dr. Liliana Carrera and their story.

Other life experiences, namely my love of history and travel, are what helped set up the evolution of the SINS series for books 3 and 4 – THE LOST and THE CLAIMED as well as the two books coming out from Carina – AZTEC GOLD and THE FIFTH KINGDOM. Although I’m a little crazed right now with trying to finish THE CLAIMED, I’m going to dig through some photos and get them scanned so you can see what inspired some of the story elements and locations that I chose for those books!

I guess what I’m trying to say in a very long way is that a writer’s inspiration comes from everything around them and in particular, from those things about which they find interesting or about which they are passionate. Why are those last two things so important? Because when a writer is interested or passionate about something, it shows in the words that they put on the page and bring the story alive for readers.

Thanks for dropping by today’s Kiss Me, Kill Tuesday. Don’t forget to visit the various stops on the ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH blog tour to learn more about STRONGER THAN SIN and also, to possibly win of the giveaways.

Also take a moment to visit with my very good friend and fellow author Mary Kennedy at SOS Aloha today! Mary is chatting about Sherlock Holmes which is thoroughly appropriate since she has the wonderful Talk Radio Mysteries out on shelves. Just click here to visit!

Thursday 13 – Breaking Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block. Two of the most dreaded words for writers besides synopsis and revisions. Writer’s Block happens to all of us. Sometimes it lasts a day or so. Other times it lasts for weeks. What can you do to help break past the walls that are blocking your creativity? Well, here are 13 suggestions for getting those creative juices flowing!

1. Take a long shower or bath. Try to think of nothing except the warmth of the water or slickness of the soap and just how relaxing it is.

2. Savor a favorite drink. Whether it’s hot chocolate, wine or coffee, sit down and focus on just the drink and nothing else. Let yourself enjoy the nuances of it, from heat to nuttiness to floral overtones.

3. Take a long walk. Preferably near somewhere scenic. Again, think about nothing except what is around you. The wind, the smells, the sights and the sounds should take priority.

4. Ground yourself. I have to say I have not done this myself, but my trainer at the Y says it works. Take off your shoes and go outside and tickle your toesies in the grass/dirt for at least thirty to forty-five minutes. Imagine yourself becoming one with the Earth once again.

5. Exercise. Whether it’s yoga, strength training, a jog, etc. get the blood flowing throughout your body and brain.

6. Read a good book. I like to read books outside my genre to see how the author puts the story together.

7. Watch a movie. Much like reading a book, let your mind process the scenes and how they flow (or don’t) and think about what made the movie work.

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No matter what, watching one of the old shows helps me see how wonderful characters are created and sharp dialogue can deliver a jab as potent as any punch.

9. Go to Writer’s group or workshop. I belong to the Liberty States Fiction Writers and I find that going to meetings and listening to the workshops always inspires me to write.

10. Shut off your network card. Oftentimes I find that my “block” is actually just distraction caused by the Internet and the time suck it creates.

11. Visit a new place. Go somewhere interesting and explore the sights. It doesn’t have to be far. I took a short trip to Sandy Hook which inspired tons of scenes for my SIN HUNTER series.

12. Visit a favorite place. Remember what it was about that place that made it special. Explore once again the sights, sounds and feel that made it favorite.

13. Talk to a friend. Sometimes you just need to vent. If they’re a writer friend, they’ll understand and may be able to offer up an idea to deal with whatever plot/character/setting problem has stopped you in your tracks.

Hope you enjoyed today’s Thursday Thirteen. I welcome you to add any of your suggestions for breaking writer’s block in the comments section.

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Tuesday Tip – Finding Your Creative Center

The other day I did a blog over at the Savvy Authors about Dealing with the Day Job and one of the things I mentioned was finding a place and time for your writing as well as how to recharge. I like to call it finding your creative center because it’s one of the most important things you can do as a writer or any other kind of artist for that matter.

For me, being near the shore energizes me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces, but there is something about the ocean and beach that I find invigorating. When I head down the shore, I know I am going to get a mess of writing done as well as a spiritual uplift.

Now I know I am luckier than some that I can pick up and take the hour, or two hour or three hour (there is a reason why it’s called the Garden State PARKway) trip down the shore. But even if you can’t get away, you should try to carve out a place and time where you can work more effectively and also a way to recharge when you’ve emptied your brain of all thoughts and need a break.

When I’m not down the shore, I have my office at home and I’ve filled it with things that I love. Family photos, useful books, my keeper and TBR collection of novels, candles, DVDs of my favorite movies and television shows as well as a comfy couch, sweater and comforter since I don’t like working at a desk when I write.

Even if all you can do is carve out a small space down in the basement next to the washer and dryer, make it your own. Surround it with things that you love and will make you feel creative.

Also find a time during which you feel most creative. As I mentioned in that earlier blog, I discovered I was a morning person. My most creative time is from around 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and I take advantage of those early hours for some truly peaceful time because there are very few crazy people up at 5 a.m., especially down the shore!

What about when you hit a block? Well, a long shower or walk work best for me. There is something about those activities where you don’t have to be thinking about doing something and can just think that help me work through problems in the story line or visualize the next scene I want to write.

I hope you found this Tuesday Tip helpful! Good luck with the writing.

Travel Tuesday – London Gardens 2010

I’m back! Sorry I wasn’t back yesterday as promised but computer issues ate up most of the day.

So you may have been wondering where I’ve been. Well, hubby and I had been planning this trip for some time and we cashed in all our frequent flyer and hotel miles and headed off to London for a variety of reasons.

We visited our best friend in London and I got great inspiration for new stories and research one in particular.

We had a wonderful time and the break from legal and writing work did me a world of good. After feeling a wealth of frustration over a number of projects in the last few months, all the new sights, sounds and foods revived my flagging creativity.

I hope the sights and info will inspire you as well as over the next few months Tip Tuesdays become Travel Tuesdays as I share some of the 600+ photos that I took all over London and nearby environs.

Today’s photographs are from some of the parks in London as well as the gardens in the area. The Brits love their gardens and it shows in the neatly manicured plots in front of many of the homes. In particular, the camelias caught my eye as they were in full bloom in an assortment of colors. I’ve always wanted to plant a camelia, but NJ is just too cold. Surprisingly, London which is far more North of NJ, has more temperate weather and because of this palm trees, camelias and other plants seem to thrive there.

The weather during our visit was a little drizzly, but not cold which made it just fine for the long walks we took through the various neighborhoods and parks. We even had two beautiful sunny and warm days and when that happened everyone seem to come out of their homes and offices and head to the nearest greens.

The photos in this collection are of three different parks:

St. James Park is located directly behind 10 Downing Street and Whitehall Chapel and in front of Buckingham Palace. It is a lovely park with a lake in the middle of it. Lush lawns, trees and flowers were all over and since this park was close to offices, Parliament, etc. it was mobbed when the sun came out.

Regents Park was right near our hotel in the Camden area of London. It’s also right next to the London Zoo or ZedSL as they call it (ZSL in American Speak). Even bigger than St. James, Regents likewise had lovely gardens and an immense lake filled with an assortment of very interesting water fowl.

Finally, St. John’s Wood Church Grounds was a smaller park along the route to the Tube (aka the subway). We passed by the park several times as they had closed our Tube line for servicing during their “bank holiday” (aka public holiday) over the Easter weekend. Take a moment to notice the very old tombstones scattered in the park and buried beneath the flowering camelias. It was rather creepy to walk past them at night, but it got my writer’s mind going about what might happen in such a place in the dark!

We spent over a week in London and also did a daytrip to Stonehenge and Bath, so look for tons more photos in the coming weeks as well as some video.

I hope you enjoy!

If you can’t see the slideshow below, you can click on this link to see the London Gardens 2010 photos!

Writer’s Block

wallIt’s not often that I get Writer’s Block, but it does happen on occasion. Often times it’s because I’m wrestling with which way the story should go and not happy with any of the directions which are coming to me.

When I hit that wall, I do wish there was this big red door that I could open to break through, but sometimes the best way is to not keep butting your head up against the wall. Sometimes the best way is to take a step back and take another look at the wall so you not only see the door, but now who to open it.

How do you do that?

1. Pick up a good book to read. I would recommend that it even be something different from what you are trying to write. Reading other genres, and interacting with writers from other genres, is a good way to see the same problem in a different light.

2. Watch a good movie. Again, preferably one that’s different from what you’re writing. Same idea only it takes less time if you’re as impatient as I am. Also, some people need more visual stimuli to see the big red door.

3. Listen to music. I’ve been inspired more than once by a song lyric that’s allowed me to tackle the story with a different perspective or a revitalized concept of the conflicts.

4. Try writing something new. Sometimes you get just too involved in a story or you’ve looked at it one too many times. Refreshen yourself by trying out a new story line or concept.

5. Take a nice long hot shower and while you’re at it, consider the problem in your story that’s creating the boondoggle. Something about putting showers and thinking together always seems to yield good results.

6. Take a walk or do some exercise. Again, think about your story and see if getting out into the fresh air or taxing those muscles produces some new ideas.

I hope those little tips help you find the way through the wall created by your writer’s block!

Also, remember that you have until midnight EST March 25 to visit my friend Kaye Monro for a chance to win a SINS OF THE FLESH T-shirt and a copy of SOLDIER’S SECRET CHILD!

Just click here or visit this link: http://kayemanro.blogspot.com/

Look for two more opportunities soon to win some prizes in my HONOR CALLS/FURY CALLS b’day bash continuation!