Writing through the deserts

I’m a guest blogger today over at Melody Steiner’s site, and she’s guest blogging at my site. Here’s what she has to say about deserts:

Image(This desert brought to you by freedigitalphotos.net)

There are times when every good writer goes through dry spells during the writing process. Think of writing as a journey, and those dry spells are the deserts you have to cross to reach your destination. How can you slog through them? How do you survive?

Remember, the key to survival under most circumstances is this: be prepared. We can apply this to writing as well. You need a “survival kit” that includes your basic writing needs. You need to find a way to communicate with the world outside your head. And you need to think creatively about your surroundings and utilize your environment to your advantage. Here are some of the things you could include in your writing “survival kit”:

1)   A thesaurus and/or dictionary.

2)   Mood-setting music.

3)   A fresh notebook.

4)   A book of poetry.

5)   Your favorite pen/pencil.

You can add or cater these to your tastes, but I would recommend that you avoid including items that could distract you. For me, the Internet is a major distraction, so whenever I want to get real writing done, I retreat to a place where I can’t even access Internet.

So, you have your survival kit set up and nothing magical is happening. What now? Well, every survivor tries to make contact with the outside world, either by smoke signals or flares, or by trying to get to a working phone. As writers, we have to do this as well. If we’re struggling for inspiration, oftentimes help comes from the people around us. Talk about your ideas to trusted friends or critique partners. Ask them for their thoughts on that one scene that just isn’t working. Remember, you’re in the desert now, so you might not always like what you hear. Be open to trying something a little bit different. Who knows? Great things could come of it.

My final piece of advice to writers walking through the desert is this: While you puzzle through that boring scene or search for inspiration for your next novel, remember to look at your surroundings. I’m not talking about physical surroundings here. I’m talking about where you’re at emotionally, artistically, and spiritually. You may find that even in the desert, there is beauty. Even in the desert, there is respite. Even in the desert, there is hope.

ImageMelody Steiner enjoys the simple things in life—her husband, her kid, and good books about robots and aliens and crazy tech. A sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, she’s managed to mush all her favorite things together into a haphazard conundrum that she likes to refer to as a “novel.” She’s represented by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency. You can tolerate her musings by visiting her website, http://www.melodysteiner.wordpress.com or follow her Twitter account: @melody_steiner.

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