Episode 25: Writing Breakthrough

 Merry Christmas!  Happy holidays from Mom Writes. We hope it was awesome.

In this episode:

 Jennie digs deep into the reasons we write in the first place, pinpointing the very essence of story and the emotion that transcends plot and connects readers.  

Why, when you're feeling overwhelmed, and the world feels overwhelming, would you take time to write?  Would you write on your day off?  On vacation? Are you writing on Christmas, why or why not? 

  • There's nothing wrong with taking a vacation from your routine, but continuing your writing routine no matter what (within reason) has payoffs.  
  • Writing is a portable activity, you can do it anywhere - you don't even *need* a computer to continue your routine

What if you're way into the planning process and you realize that the point you're making in your story is actually *not* the point you wanted to make? Sometimes you hear people talk about what their characters or their book "wanted", and whether or not you put any stock in that there is something to be said for intuition and how internal subconscious and unacknowledged feelings in the writer come out in your writing. 

A lot of people get into trouble because they’re not doing the deep work - they’re staying on the conscious level. You end up with something that nobody has any reason to care about, there’s no room for the reader, for doubt or debate.
— Jennie Nash

If things start coming up in the writing process that surprise you, that you don't like, that you didn't expect - people sometimes end up confronting uncomfortable things that you they want to think or write about.  But you DO need to get deep down inside yourself and find those universal feelings that will really connect with your readers.

That’s why we come to books - to know that we’re not alone.
— Jennie Nash
On confronting darkness in your writing: Abby, you’re the Stephen King of children’s literature.
— Melanie Parish

Obviously Mel only means "Stephen King" in the absolute loosest sense of the comparision!

But writing can be therapeutic. There's a lot of research that shows how writing can help people move through traumatic experiences and life events. When you want your book to be read, i.e. commercially viable, you're doing the hard work of connecting to other people and their loves, fears, dreams etc. The first step towards getting out of your own way and tapping into your own creativity can be finding the balance between having control of your project with the constraint of what your medium is.  There's real skill in knowing what your story wants to be and knowing the constraints of your form and genre, and you may have to make a conscious decision to try various directions that may or may not work out.  You may have to throw things away, and it costs you nothing but time. 

  • Creativity is making a series of choices. If you want to make a cake, you have to make a series of decisions in order to get where you want to go. People get in trouble when they try to hold onto every option and make everything work. 
  • You have to make good choices initially in order to write a good book.  
  • We're used to making decisions in other things that are irrevocable, and we treat our writing decisions the same way.  But they're not. You can change things! If something isn't working, you can throw it away and try again. 

Don't be afraid of the darkness in your writing - sometimes those uncomfortable, painful feelings and ideas that come up because you're tapping into something that can help you connect to the emotion of your story, and the emotions on your readers.