[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have Miranda Liasson guest post on the site today. Take it away Miranda!]
Cade Marshall, the hero in The Way You Love Me, is a New York Times bestselling author with the world’s worst case of writer’s block. When I created him, I was quietly poking fun at all writers –especially myself.
I might not have had an ex-wife who accused me of stealing her ideas, but I could certainly commiserate with Cade. He really wanted to write, but he just couldn’t.
Based on the twelve romance novels I’ve written so far, some books are a lot easier than others to write. Every book has a different and unique set of challenges. In The Way You Love Me, it seemed as if everyone was writing a book themselves—the hero, the heroine, other writers in Cade’s class—even the heroine’s deceased mother! It was a great challenge to figure out exactly what the heck they were all writing and how to present that in a way that wasn’t…well, boring.
So I was a writer writing about another writer in a group of writers… talk about putting too much on your plate.
Somehow, I got through my writing problems. And, I’m happy to report, so did Cade.
It’s possible you’re feeling a little creative block so I came up with a short list of items that might be helpful to you (and a good reminder to me the next time I need it):
Understand exactly what you’re dealing with.
When I told my writing teacher, a New York Times bestselling author, that I had finally gotten a contract, the first thing she said was, “Welcome to the rollercoaster.” I realize now that what she was trying to tell me was: this is a crazy business. “Don’t take anything personally” was her invaluable advice. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Just keep going.
Have faith that your dry spell will end.
If you sit in front of the computer long enough, something will happen. It might not be something terrific, but what is Nora Roberts always quoted as saying? “You can fix anything but a blank page.” I’ve found that just sleeping, commiserating with a friend, or going to take a walk or bike ride—or preferably all three—is enough to clear your head and provide a fresh perspective.
Let it all hang out.
I believe that the reason we all read fiction (especially romance) is to experience something passionately. A writer must dig deeply into her or his emotional well, and this means ignoring our worries and fears of not being good enough. This is when real creation happens—when we tunnel through fear and come out on the other side to find out: hey! we’re still alive, and it’s going to be okay.
“Choose health” is my 2019 mantra. It’s a good reminder to put rest, exercise, and healthy food first over, say, spending another hour huddled over the keyboard when I am stressing out about my word count. “Fill the well” is not a joke, and taking time to keep yourself mentally healthy is important.
Lastly, the most important piece of advice:
Turn to your good friends.
In a business where your friends are sometimes, interestingly, your competitors, finding true friends is critical. They will answer your emergency emails in the middle of the night—which I have definitely sent. How am I ever going to get my heroine out of this mess? How am I ever going to survive these edits? How will I ever finish this book? My dear friends understand the pressure to produce. (It also helps that one of them is a night owl, so she’s likely to be at her computer at one or two in the morning, ready to receive an S.O.S. There’s nothing better than staring at the screen at a lonely hour and having that supportive email pop into your box.) Your good friends will also take you to dinner and buy you a drink (or two) and tell you that everything is going to be all right.
You need these friends. There’s only one catch—in order to get them, you will probably have to share those deep dark secrets that you might be afraid to tell anyone about your writing. For most of us, writing is so deeply personal, we guard it. We hold it close to our hearts. We’re afraid to share for fear we will be looked on as silly or stupid. Lots of us introverts feel that way. But your true friends—well, they’ll still love you no matter how much of a nerd you are.
At the end of the day, I try to remember the magic—the feeling when words can transport us to a new universe. To a place where we experience the characters’ feelings—their aches and hurts and their intense love, happiness, sadness, or yearning. Those moments of connection to a character can morph into a much more global feeling—the feeling of what it is to be human.
With writing, as with many other things in life, the joy is definitely worth the aggravations.
About the Author:
Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about everyday people who find love despite themselves, because there’s nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! A Romance Writers of America Golden Heart winner and an Amazon bestselling author, Miranda lives in the Midwest with her husband and three kids in a charming old neighborhood which is the inspiration for many of the homes in her books.
For more on Miranda: www.mirandaliasson.com
The Way You Love Me by Miranda Liasson out now!
Gabby Langdon has always tried to make people happy. She even went to law school to please her father, and now she’s a highly successful-albeit bored-attorney. But Gabby secretly dreams of being a writer, so for once she does something for herself-she signs up for a writing class taught by best-selling novelist Caden Marshall. There’s only one problem: her brooding, sexy professor is a distraction she can’t afford if she’s finally going to get the life she truly wants.
Recently divorced and suffering from the world’s worst case of writer’s block, Caden is in Angel Falls to get his life back on track. He’s focused on teaching and providing a stable and loving home for his young daughter, Ava. The last thing he needs is to jeopardize his new job, which means keeping plenty of distance between himself and his talented new student-no matter how tempted he is by Gabby’s beauty, kind heart, or the sparks that fly whenever they’re together.