Tuesday, July 3, 2012

IWSG for July, 2012

It's that time again. The first Wednesday of the month is dedicated to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Yes, I do realize that it's, actually, Tuesday but, due to the Fourth of July holiday, I'm posting a day early....smartypants.  Anywho, the IWSG is where we take the time to post about things that, as writers, make us feel not as comfortable as we'd like in the world of writing. We also discuss how we can fix theses things as well as showing our support for other, struggling, writers via blog visits, etc.

This month I'd like to touch on a topic that pops up quite frequently when I write.

Boredom. yawwwwwnnnn.....

Sometimes, I'll get these little kernels of a story idea and think "Man, this sounds like a great story!". Then, I'l start off just writing the story. As I start to put my ideas down, it just won't flow. It seems to drag on and the 'voice' of the story begins to drone in my head. It leads to a lot of frustration and insecurity for me and, sometimes, has me thinking "Am I really cut out or this?"

I think, for me, it boils down to one, underlying, detail......


I think my main problem is that, for some strange reason, (o.k.,I know it's not a strange reason....I'm just impatient.) I expect the story to just flow out of me. To magically appear from my brain, to my fingertips, and to the keyboard. The only problem with this line of thought is....that's not really how my process works.

And. I. Know. This!!

My process takes much, much, more time. Like doing paper mache' (which I've only done a few times in my life, but still...), one must build on layers. It's like the old analogy of building a house....start with the foundation, blah, blah, blah.

I think my issue is, that I'm wanting 'house'-worthy results with only wanting to put forth 'shack'-worthy effort. Does that make me a 'shacker' instead of a 'slacker'?

How do I combat this?
  1. I have to remember that not everything I'm writing has to be 'flash fiction'.
  2. Remind myself that it's o.k. to take my time and pay attention to the details.
  3. Outline!!!!!!
  4. Duck and weave like Muhammad Ali. Hit the story, then pull back and give it some room.....then, hit it again.
  5. Outline!!!!
  6. Learn to love the process and not just the finished result.
  7. Did I mention.....Outline!!!!!?
When I did NaNo, I had outlined the bulk of it, which helped tremendously. Not that I didn't stray from the outline but, at least, it gave me some good framework to build upon after I ran out of outline and was 'winging it' near the end.

My formula is a pretty simple one:

Patience+More effort+Better Detail = Mark being less bored and writing more!

It's simple in theory but, in practice, takes 'house'-worthy effort.

Definitely something I'll be needing to work on more as I strive to not be such an 'insecure' writer.


Anonymous said...

I don't think that you're alone in this at all - in wanting to just have the story flow right out of you. I joked with someone the other day that I was waiting for Scrivener to release an update that allowed me to open up a fully written and ready to go novel :D Patience is *hard* - especially when all you want is to get there and know that you've completed something epic. But enjoying the ride and enjoying the process can be awesome if we can let ourselves!

Mark Means said...

I'm glad to hear I'm not alone, it makes me think I have a better chance of beating my impatience as others have

Mark Means said...

On a side note, Leslie, that'd be a heck of a Scrivener update, don't you think? :)

Cherie Colyer said...

I can't help in the patience department. My post this month pretty much said I don't have any. :)

I do think we all have times when the story just doesn't flow from our heads to our fingers the way we would like it to. I like your 7-steps to combat this. One thing you might try is to allow yourself to write bad. That's sounds terrible, but if I let myself write bad I can finish the first draft. Then I go back and add in all the little details that bring the scene alive, I correct word echoes, and I add more emotions.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

Mark Means said...

Actually, even though it does sound funny, you have a good point, Cherie. That's pretty much how I got through NaNoWriMo...I just wrote and let the words fall where they may.

It wasn't pretty, but it worked. I may have to give that a try again :)

Thanks for the comment, Cherie!

shelly said...

Sometime I just get sleepy like the other night. I couldn't keep my attention to the story but I made it through.


Unknown said...

Right there with you buddy. Lots of times I have an idea for a scene, but how to get it started. I am so focused on the key point of the scene that I have neglected to figure out how I will get to the key point. So I slug through until I get to the key point (the kernel of the scene) and it eventually works out. Also I get the idea for a great scene, but it is further in the novel. If my Muse Willow pushes this idea hard enough I just give in and write that scene, even though it is out of sequence, and then go back to work on the other scenes once my muse has been satisfied. Keep up the struggle and look forward. Sometimes just a single sentence or paragraph in a scene makes all the work for that scene worthwhile. ~PapaBear

Anonymous said...

Yeah, patience isn't my strong suit as wel, but it ooks like you learned the same lesson I did. Outline. Outline and I think you had one more Outline in there for good measure. It just gives you a starting point and it makes the process smoother for me. Great post.

Mark Means said...

Heh, I've been there -many- times Shelly :) It's at those times, I thank God for the invention of coffee.

Mark Means said...

"Sometimes just a single sentence or paragraph in a scene makes all the work for that scene worthwhile"

So very true and some good advice. Thank you, Peter!

Mark Means said...

Thank you Sydney and, yes, it's a tough lesson to learn, but one that makes things ultimately easier down the road.

Thanks for the comment :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just jotting down the idea is good enough if it won't flow from there. Then you can go back and outline it later. I can't just write either - I have to have an outline.

Mark Means said...

Actually, that's a great idea too, Alex. It could help satisfy my lazy side and trick it into thinking I'm not putting -that- much effort forth :)

Unknown said...

I wrote a very general outline for my last book. A lot changed while I was writing (for the better), but I realized my outline didn't account for the fact that character development takes a lot more writing than I'd planned. Bummer. Like you, I promise myself to outline my next novel oh-so-much-more carefully.

Good luck! :-)

Mark Means said...

Thanks for the comment Lexa :) Yes, I thinking more and more that outlining is a pretty good time investment. Let me know how it works for you in your next manuscript.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

If you did NaNo, you're a hero in my books. Nice to meet you, Mark. Best of success.

Mark Means said...

Thank you very much Joylene and nice to meet you, as well :) Sorry for replying so late, but I just saw your comment.

anarchist said...


Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

A while ago I put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It's a collection of short pieces, mostly dark fantasy.

I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on one or other of your blogs.

If so, please email me: news@apolitical.info. Let me know what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy.

You can download a sample from the ebook's page on Smashwords:


I'm also happy to do interviews, guest posts, or giveaways. Just let me know what you'd prefer.


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