Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog/I Think I Can


Anyone who has experienced the joys of writing knows it’s quite common to get sucked into a story, only to have several hours pass without even realizing it. Seriously, I get so immersed in a project that I become detached from my surroundings and almost BECOME part of my characters’ world. That level of commitment helps me to visualize the scenes, characters, and emotions.

The drawback?

I often get so obsessed that the story takes over my thoughts, intrudes into my dreams, and seeps into my daily life.

Cool, BUT…

Getting too close to a manuscript leaves me vulnerable to blind spots. I can’t see plot holes, wonky phrases, or–gasp–adverbs!

So I take breaks. (Sometimes I need a rest too, Amen?)

Problem is…

Jumping into the thousands of words and hundreds of pages feels overwhelming. What if I get lost in the details and can’t find my way back? What if I think the whole thing is an exercise in futility? What if I find a problem I can’t fix?

Phooey. Now I can’t work on it. I stalled out because I flooded the engine with worries.

So, how do I get out of catastrophic thinking?

I talk to writerly friends. I read a book. I write blog posts. I read and comment on others’ blogs. I repeat a mantra that’s remarkably similar to that of The Little Engine That Could.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

Somehow, it works. Thank. God.

My question: What do you tell yourself to keep the writing wheels churning when you hit a tough spot or a steep hill?

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Don’t forget to check out Zoe’s answer about how much she’s like her characters!

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14 comments on “Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog/I Think I Can

  1. Charli Mac says:

    I have an imaginary conversation with Tom Hanks from A League of Their Own.

    Jimmy Dugan: Start using your head. That’s the lump that’s three feet above your ass.

    [I start to cry]

    Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN WRITING!

    OR I tell myself there’s a bottle of wine on the other side of the hill!

  2. Christine Fonseca says:

    Chat with me CPs and bug you! 😀

  3. Lynn Rush says:

    Great post. I, too, get immersed into my characters and stories to the point of losing track of time. I used to be so on top of my schedule, arriving to appointments early, etc. Once I became a writer, that all flew out the window.

    I literally have to set my microwave timer to go off so I stay focused.

    Sad, but true.

    I usually just talk to writer friends, spend some time playing around on Facebook/Twitter and/or go for a long bike ride. I get to think things through, find plot holes, etc. But on that first draft, I just write. I don’t worry about any of that stuff (plot holes, grammar, nothing). I can always come back to that stuff and flesh it out or fix.

    So, write on, my friend.

  4. Personally if I can’t figure out how to solve a problem, I just skip ahead. Sometimes you have to write what comes after the solution to realize what the solution to the problem actually is. Wow, that sounded both profound and completely convoluted …

  5. definitely head to my CPs and writer peeps for a reality check. But the thing that helps most is just to open the file and start reading. That ALWAYS works, sucks me right back in 🙂

  6. Carol Ann Hoel says:

    I don’t know how to fix me when I’m broken. I just keep on plodding along and praying that God will intervene and turn my engine back on. Does He? Yeah, when He’s ready. Duh. In the meantime, I post blogs, comment, spend time with my sweet husband, and do housework. Someone has to do it! Why not the woman that can’t write? She has nothing better to do. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Laura, what a great post and a question that really made me think. I remind myself how much I want to share the people that are running around in my head with the rest of the world. That usually gets me back on track.

    Plus, I talk with my blogging pals or my crit partner Beth. Her book comes out in January, so she’s experiencing everything that I hope to experience soon. It’s been fun going through it with her, (she writes sci-fi) but now I want my turn. LOL

    Thanks Laura. 🙂

  8. J. Elle says:

    Nice post! I actually like to carry around a notebook with me so I can jot down stuff when the inspiration hits(or something) before I forget, heh. I find it easiest to build from there. It’s just not the same if I deliberately open up a word processor and try to force out words. Also, talking to friends who are writers is really encouraging:)

  9. elisajeglin says:

    When I get stuck, I take a break and research…a lot. Right now, while revising, I got stuck on a fight scene. I haven’t touched my MS in two weeks, but I’ve been looking to rename the character and researching myths and legends on the creature I’ve made him. I’m also watching animes and am going to re-read some of my favorite authors to see how they handle similar situations. Also, I shouldn’t, but I’ve started outlining another book that I’ll hopefully have done by December 31, to enter in a contest.

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