Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. -- Gene Fowler

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Rough Week

I feel kind of like a hack today. The latter half of the week has been rough for me. I've been plagued by old enemies from within, been driven down (and allowed myself to sink) into that bleak bog where dwells the Black Dog.

It's so easy to get down on myself when I've not done my writing for the day. Even if it's just writing for this blog, if I haven't touched it in a week, which is nearly true as of today, I feel like a supreme slacker. Monday I looked into joining a critique group with the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group. I'm also considering going back to the Montgomery County Community College's Writers Club, who have a critique group twice a month. I just don't know if I can stand having a room of bright-eyed new writing students circle every single adverb in my piece. There's an article I've been meaning to write for Associated Content about that. "Show, Don't Tell" is about more than adverb usage.

Yet "Self Editing For Fiction Writers" claims to agree, at least in principle, with the idea that adverbs are bad. They contribute to weak writing, the authors say. I believe in moderation. I believe that adverbs are not your enemies as a writer. They're easy to reach on the writer's shelf, but it's best not to get carried away. Don't dump the whole container on your story, but you can sprinkle a 'quietly' or the like here or there without spoiling things.

I've found "Self Editing" to be a very good manual so far. I've read through the first three or four chapters and gone through the exercises provided, and every time I pick up the book it makes me take out my novel manuscript. Which is a good thing, because March is National Novel Editing Month, or NaNoEdMo. I'm not officially participating, but it's a great reminder to get editing/revising. NaNoEdMo demands fifty hours of editing in a month. Having never edited on the scale of a novel before, I have no idea how much that is. With NaNoWriMo I know that 50,000 words is a pretty big deal, especially if you're a member of the "Indiana Jones School of Writing" and fly by the seat of your writerly pants during November.

I had hoped that if I could get my writing legs under me again today I might feel better about life in general. Looking at this post, I think that's a fair bet. Sometimes the best cure for writer's block is to write. Sounds backwards, I know, but having this blog is probably the best thing I've done for my writing life in a long time. I sometimes wonder who's reading this, whether there's any point in my doing this at all. But there is a point, even if I'm not being read. I'm writing. This blog has replaced my daily writing stretch that I did for a few weeks before I realised it was producing something worth sharing sometimes. It's a great way to stretch my writing muscles and grease the wheels of my writer's mind.

I need to remind myself of that now and again.

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