Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Follies of Familiarity

When I bought my first car four years ago (brand new!), I was enchanted. I wanted to drive Betty, the cyclone-grey Accent, anywhere and everywhere. Love at first sight.

Fast forward to present day. While I still love Betty, when my sisters ask me to take them somewhere, I curse the slow progress of teleportation research. See, driving has become routine, a thing I do every day. On top of that, Betty is no longer a new car. She's four years older with 40,000+ miles on her. Plus quite a few stains and crumbs in the backseat (courtesy of said sisters).

The same thing happens with writing.

Ever wonder where the magic goes? Say you're struck with this amazing idea. All you want to do is plot, plan, and write. The first chapter is exhilarating (after you get past the tricky first sentence/paragraph). Chapter two is great. Chapter three is fine. Chapter four...

And you run out of steam. The "magic" is gone. You don't want to write anymore (or, in my case, edit). In fact, you want to give up. 

Luckily, I have a few tips for combating the Follies of Familiarity. How do I know they work? Last week I got hit with my once-in-awhile dark thinking. Things like...

That all the work I've done won't amount to anything. 

That I don't possess a teaspoon of writing talent. 

That I should just give up and get a "real" job. 

The list goes on and on. I followed the four steps below and the "magic" slowly trickled back. By the time this post goes live, I'm almost 100% sure that I'll be at full strength again.

Now for Those Tips...

1. STOP working on your book. You have a deadline, you say? 
I don't care! 
But, Emily Layne, you say, you just said a few posts ago that deadlines are good things! 
Not if they're draining your love for writing. Sometimes it's better to take a break than to keep pushing something. You'll find after a break that the words will come faster than if you forced them.

2. Read. I usually like to read in my genre (YA fiction) since I enjoy it and because it invigorates me to keep writing. But sometimes, if your lack of "magic" is severe, you may need to venture out of the status quo. Check out classics, childrens' books, even nonfiction if you like! Broaden your horizons.

3. Treat this break as YOU time. I don't know about you, but when I'm focused on a project things start to, well, be "let go." (Sorry in advance if this is TMI!!!) I always have painted toenails. Red, blue, pink, whatever. Since I started editing TWW I've let the polish chip. I did snag a few minutes one day to take it off, but since then my toes have been...naked! THE HORROR!
While you're letting your "magic" refuel, refuel yourself too. Take a spa day (my favorite thing)! Take a bath! Do some shopping! If it's for you, then you should do it.

4. Plop in front of the TV for a movie marathon. I'm an action-flick kinda girl (with a weakness for a smidge of romance and period dramas). Not only are movies a great opportunity to sit and not think, but they're also inspiring. Instead of imagining, you're seeing things play out on the screen. You never know what might catch your muse's interest!

I hope these tips help any of you that are struggling (like me). If you have any other ideas or things that have worked for you, please share!
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