All posts by nhluedke

Writer’s block? Or intimidation?

I broke my arm in the middle of a full scale writing assault on a novel. The entire time I healed, I dreamed of the time I could write again. I worked hard to get the use of my hand back.

So when I could finally, painfully hold a pen again, I rejoiced. But when it came to writing on the story, I hit a wall. Not physically, but mentally. I avoided scribbling out ideas because I was afraid the words wouldn’t come back, that I’d lost the drive. I started doing anything – from rereading favorite books to re-watching well-known movies to reviewing scenes I’d already typed in and edited to death – to put off the story. Blank pages stayed blank.

Now blank pages usually mean writer’s block, but to me, there’s no such thing. Those characters, that story, is still lurking in my brain. Rather than writer’s block, this might be a case of intimidation. Blank pages can be pretty fierce, after all. I think I’m seeking perfection, which is strange because no rough draft I’ve ever done has been perfect. Maybe I’m remembering my former days of writing so fondly, I’m forgetting how much work writing really is.

My arm and hand are not perfect, but with work, they’ll improve. Same goes for my writing. It’s time to pick up the pen again and carry on.

Asking a writer why

Asking a writer why they write is like giving a mouse a cookie. It might not go where you think it will.

A quick search found this article quoting 23 authors on why they wrote gracing the Aerogramme Writers’ Studio site. There were some weird and fascinating reasons, but like any question, the answer depended on who was asked. Every author had a different reason.

Now I’m not an author but I do write, and I write for the love of the story – bringing it from the initial ideas that won’t go away to the best draft I can produce. It’s a challenge.

What about you? What makes you set pen to paper? Or hit those keyboards? Or, if you don’t write, why do you read stories? And what’s your favorite kind?

The creative life

A friend of mine crafts weekly posts she calls Writerly Ways. She often begins them with real life situations that circumvent her writing efforts and she ends them with nuggets of wisdom (links) on story crafting, publishing, editing, blogging, etc.

I look forward to these because they inspire me. She’s facing setbacks but keeps going. Not only that, she offers a helping hand to others.

One of the links she shared this month was an article by Grant Faulkner: Fortify your New Year’s resolutions.

Faulkner writes, “Step into any preschool and observe the unbridled creative energy of kids as they immerse themselves in fingerpainting, telling wild stories, banging on drums, and dancing just to dance. They’re creative types because they breathe.”

We lose that as we get older. We let things sidetrack that creativity. Maybe that’s why resolutions are so popular.

January ends at midnight tonight. Rather than focus on what I didn’t check off on my to-do list this month, I’ll celebrate what I did. Despite all the problems, the ups and the downs, I breathed, I thought, and I wrote.

That makes my life just a little richer, though it may never put a penny in my pockets.

Why have a blog?

Tis the season of review and reflection, hope and possibilities, giving and sharing, so here are a few things I’d like to say.

I’ve been taking some training lately, mainly about online marketing. In essence, it boils down to knowing what your core message is, getting that out to your audience by the best means possible (for them and you), and making emotional connections so people remember you and come back.

Now this applies no matter what you are doing. Not everything out there is about sales (though it may seem like it), it’s about reach and connections.

Which is why I started this site.

When I first envisioned this blog, I was fairly naive. I wanted to write the best stories I could, use this as a place where I could talk about that process with others, and have links where people could find my work.

After going through this marketing training, learning all the ins an outs of relevant posts, analytics, overarching plans, content management, etc., I realize my job will benefit from the information immensely,

However my heart tells me the same is not true about my writing, meaning no one is going to read this blog (or my books) but me and maybe a few close friends.

And you know what? That’s okay. This is more of a journal than a blog. There will never be sales pitches here – only an invitation to share. I will never have an agent mainly because the thrill of queries and sales are not why I write. I always craft my endeavors as if I’m telling myself and one or two good friends a story in a campfire setting anyway. I’m not out to conquer the world. If I did make a few dollars someday, I wouldn’t mind, but I’d only sink it back into paper and ink costs (because it seems there is nothing like scribbling edits all over copy with multicolored pens).

So to whoever is reading this (including the crickets), I promise to keep this a place of invention, imagination and possibility, free of sales pitches, advertizements and buy-one-get-one-free. Oh, and I will try and post once a month in 2018.

Enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful new year.

Good reads and writing updates

Happy Halloween! Time to dust off the blog and make an entry.

Books I’m currently reading:

  • The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman (this is a wonderful morning read – one meditation per day)
  • The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth (this is a wonderful bedtime read – a little each night)
  • Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things, by Cy Tymony
  • A Serpent’s Tooth, by Craig Johnson

Books I’ve read lately:

  • The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg (great book)
  • The Highwayman, by Craig Johnson
  • Everyone writes, by Ann Handley

The book I finished, the one waiting for illustrations, is now on hold due to personal injury. Most other writing ventures are too, while I heal. I am cranking out short stories, as I can, but progress is slow. I will heal eventually, though, and will post when I get back up to speed.