When You’re Not Motivated to Write

I’m reposting this post because I feel it’s so timely. Many are struggling with concentration and motivation, and maybe it’s not the time for you to write or expect so much from yourself. I hope this material encourages you.

For everything, there is a season. So says the wise writer of Ecclesiastes (King Solomon). Some of us were first introduced to this aphorism with the Byrds’ famous song “Turn, Turn, Turn.” I think as we get older, we truly understand the truth about seasons in our lives. They are part of the natural cycle of things, and while we often buck the cycle, we do better if we ride with it.

What am I talking about? The seasons of writing and refraining from writing. Just as there is “a time to plant and a time to reap, a time to laugh and a time to weep,” there is a time to write and a time to not write.

I feel it’s important to consider this, for many reasons. The whole point of Solomon’s words, to me, is acceptance. “This is the way things work,” he seems to be saying. Just as the seasons of the earth come and go in cyclical cadence, everything in our lives works similarly. Why should writing be any different? Continue Reading…

Your Premise Determines Your Characters

When I think about the many novels I’ve written, I realize I don’t always start with a plot idea. Sometimes a topic or theme intrigues me, or I’ll have an image of a character in the throes of a moral dilemma. I remember reading about how C. S. Lewis came up with his Narnia series. He had a picture in his mind of a faun carrying a parcel and an umbrella through a snowy wood. From there, the The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe sprang into existence.

The novel I’m currently writing, a supernatural thriller called Lightning Man, also was sparked by a picture in my head. I saw a man at the top of a mountain, his arms outstretched in a messianic surrender to the heavens, willing lightning to strike him for the tenth time, intending to stop a terrorist by sacrificing his life as he grips the bad guy. From there I had to ask a lot of questions to find my story, and I encourage you to do the same with the ideas that excite you.

I wove a complex plot around that character and climactic moment I saw in my head (it’s taken me a couple of years, but it’s all in place now). But it all started with a picture of a nebulous character.

For my novel Someone to Blame, I started with  the word blame. You could call it a theme or topic. I wanted to explore the ways people blame themselves and others and the damage and hurt blame causes. From that germ of an idea, a plot developed—a story about a family who’ve suffered the loss of two sons and moved to a new town hoping to start over, only to get drawn into a heavy drama that mires the town in blame and subsequent danger. Continue Reading…

How to Overcome Discouragement as an Author

Today’s guest post is by Emma Eggleston.

Writing is your passion. You spend hours dreaming up the perfect characters and their marvelous adventures, months writing the first draft, and weeks rewriting, editing, and tweaking your work.

All your friends and family have read your manuscript, and they absolutely love it. You are at the point where you are satisfied with the story you have created. You research the top literary agents for your genre, craft a flawless query, cross your fingers, and bravely send out your submissions.

Then, you wait.

Slowly, the responses start trickling into your in-box. Your heart starts to race as you click that email notification and prepare yourself to read the message. Your eyes quickly scan the words, and your stomach drops when you realize it’s a no.

Time after time, you find yourself facing rejection. Your book is your baby; your characters are your best friends. You would be lying if you said the rejection didn’t hurt. Now, you are questioning whether or not your book is as good as you thought. Months of sacrifice and weekends spent agonizing over your manuscript only to receive disappointing responses leaves you feeling like throwing in the towel altogether. Continue Reading…

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