Monday, March 29, 2010

The Spark (And How I Find It)

So. Rewriting. Fun, right?


Anyway, I feel like ranting a bit about my current issue. Not surprisingly, it involves my WIP (oh, how you torture me...). I have the scenes clearly outlined in my head. I know exactly how I want to write the darned thing.


The scene doesn't want to come out. It's on strike or something. Or it just likes watching me scream (like my dog...).

A blank Word document stares back at me; a pulsing cursor waits to be manipulated by my fingers. But. Nothing. Happens.

I know who's to blame, of course. The Spark. My Spark. It's gone. And it's not coming back.

Well, it is. You see, The Spark does this to me every time I get to the third act of my novel. It runs away every time things get messy. It stops the flow of words from exiting my head.

Until I do what makes The Spark warm up to me again--read another book.

Not just any book, though. It has to be a book in the same genre as the one I'm writing, otherwise The Spark refuses to come out of hiding. Reading something similar in terms of target audience inspires me, gets me fired up to write, and puts a smile on my face. Especially if the writing is great. The plot has to rock my world, too. And just like that, The Spark returns. No more screaming for me.

I'm pretty sure many writers find their Spark by reading, but this doesn't work for everyone. So tell me, what works for you? Does your Spark run and hide like mine, or is it there until the very end?

If it does, I envy you. Writing can suck out loud with inspiration, and it sucks ten times more without it. Whatever you do, my fellow writer buddie, never let it slip away.


  1. I know how this feels. I'll want to write, but it doesn't come. Sometimes I write something, anything, as way of "warming up" to what will come eventually. Sometimes I just don't write until the right scene enters my head.
    Great post!

  2. I know how you feel. Sometimes, the Will is harder to summon than the words. For me, I think it's music that puts the feeling back into me. I've got to get the emotions and the fire back to get the words going.

  3. Lydia - Thanks! Good to know I'm not alone in the writing trenches of doom. I also happen to write "something" on the page just to see if I get fired up. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But always keep writing!!!

    Dominique - That's a great suggestion! Music definitely helps me. There are times when I don't even want to write and then I hit play on my iPod, voila! A scene beckons!

    Best of luck with your WIP's, ladies!

  4. I just tagged you on my blog ;).

    I, too, hate the dreaded blank Word document. You are definitely not alone!

  5. Thanks, Rebecca!!! It is an honor to be tagged (never thought I'd say that...). And yeah, let's go kick some blank Word document ass!

  6. It helps me to take my dog for a walk and think about whatever the problem is. Just getting away from the computer seems to free up the creative juices.

  7. Hey! I thought I was the only who read books every time my own WIP stumped me. LOL.

    When I get stuck at a scene, I think it usually happens because I've put too much pressure on my self to make it good. So, I just forget all my expectations and type the first words that come into my head.

    Anyway, I really like your post. I could really relate to it. :)

  8. Have you checked the hashtag on twitter #stuffmymusesays ? Hehe :)

  9. Susan- Excellent tip! Getting away definitely makes me think up a storm sometimes, but walking my dog is an epic fail (she's too controlling to let me reflect on anything!).

    Darlyn- Book readers unite! I need a similar book in my agenda in order to stay motivated, man. But typing out words at random seems like something I should try out, too. Hope it works... Thanks for stopping by!

    Judith- Thanks for the tip. I had no idea this existed! Laughed so hard it hurt when I saw it! I'll be checking it out quite frequently...

  10. Once I begin a new manuscript, I never look back until I get to The End. Editing is more tedious. But sometimes I can't begin and reading a book in the genre gets me going. Francine Prose in Reading Like a Writer encourages writers to read other writers for inspiration.

  11. I live by the read-another-book rule, so I guess I'd love to check out Francine's book! And yeah, I can't seem to go back to any scene until I finish the whole thing (makes me feel a bit guilty...).

    Thanks for stopping by, Theresa!!

  12. I do one of two things. Either I sit and write, even though I know it sucks and is not anywhere near the vision I hold for that particular scene. I save revisions for later, I just need to keep moving forward.

    The other thing I do is get busy. I go for a walk, do the dishes, do anything where my hands or body is busy but my mind can wander. I let the scene play itself out over and over. By the time I'm done (okay, so it'd take a LOT of dishes), I usually can't wait to get to the computer to get it all down.