Thursday, December 8, 2011

Persistence in Practice


"Forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice."
~Octavia Butler


I am working to embrace this philosophy right now. My re-writes were flowing freely, my CP and agent were loving them, and then . . . nothing. I hit a wall. And my CP was on vacation when I hit it. I just kind of shut down, ya know? Two weeks and not ONE new word.

So, it's time to just write. Period. I can't give myself permission to live in this bubble of denial any longer. Waiting for inspiration has not moved me forward. Maybe getting back in the habit of punching the keys will. 

How do you break through those brick walls when you write? 
 

22 comments:

Barbara Watson said...

Ugh. Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting for every word. And I'm newer to this than you, but two things I keep in mind--ALWAYS--are these: 1) just keep writing and 2) trust the process.

Heather said...

I'm a total believer in habit instead of inspiration. If I waited for inspiration to strike it would take me years to write a book. And honestly, writing is like any muscle, the more it's exercised, the better it works. :) When I'm stuck I try writing a short story from a different character's POV. Something about their past usually.

DL Hammons said...

Must be something in the air because I've head a lot of people talking about writers block this week. Hmmmmmmmmmm??? :)

Kelly Polark said...

I agree. Sometimes you just have to gut it out and just do it!

Old Kitty said...

Good luck breaking down these writerly walls! You can do this!!! Yay for you! Take care
x

Jennie Englund said...

Winter is a GREAT time to get into revision; there's not much else to do, and we can use that built-up energy.

It will come to you, Shannon.

BTW, I popped over to your teaching blog. You are Super Teacher!!!

Hope you're having yourself some Merry Christmas!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Can so relate. I finally forced myself to sit down and write even though I didn't have it as "planned out" as I wanted. I need the habit big time. I've been slipping.

Jemi Fraser said...

It's tough. I tend to go back to the beginning and reread so I can figure out what those MCs are supposed to be doing! :)

ali cross said...

I do exactly what you're doing today. I write. It's the most reliable way I know to beat a slump. I hope it helps you through! You CAN do this, you know! ((hugs))

Jen Daiker said...

I walked away from novels and went to short stories. While querying I found myself without words. I wasted so much time focusing on what others wanted rather than what I wanted.

Now, stepping away and writing what I want has done wonders. I find I can put words where I never thought I could before!

Laura Marcella said...

Taking a break helps. I read, watch favorite movies, bake or exercise. Doing something else creative helps me break through the walls.

On Monday I posted quotes on revision! Maybe some of them will inspire you to get back to those rewrites. :)

Jessica Silva said...

I couldn't agree more with Ms. Butler here, but of course, sometimes even habit isn't enough to break through a wall. having the smarts to take a break when you need it, to assess the situation and analyze what's holding you up (is it because the scene's boring? is it because something just isn't working? is it SOMETHING you can control?) in order to move forward :)

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

I like that getting into a good habit idea. I'll be using it in my New Year's resolution.

Meredith said...

Good for you! That's a wonderful idea. You can do it!

Susan R. Mills said...

I seem to have hit a brick wall this week, too. I've been stuck on the same scene for 3 days. I have forced myself to work on it every day, but the next day, I delete everything I came up with. I'm hoping this patience and persistence will pay off soon! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I go for a run. It's as simple as that for me. :D

Patti said...

I'm not sure, because right now I'm banging my head against one.

Valerie Geary said...

Oh no!! I'm back! I'm back! *waves furiously* If you wait for inspiration, my friend, you will be waiting forever. I wish I had an easy answer for you on how to push through, but the only thing that helps me when I hit a wall like this is to ask myself: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Now pick up your fork and get busy. :)

Julie Dao said...

Good luck breaking down the wall, Shannon! It just takes time, I think. Whenever I get writer's block, there's nothing I can do to force myself to get words out. I just have to take a break.

Carolyn V said...

You can do it Shannon! I'm hitting that wall too, but with a little perseverance, we can do it. ;)

You're awesome. Have a great weekend!!!

Cozy in Texas said...

I keep writing but work on another project for a while.
Ann

Anna Staniszewski said...

I definitely hit that wall every once in a while. One thing that seems to help me get back on track is working on a shorter project (short story, picture book, etc.) to help change gears for a little while and get me feeling creative again.

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