Monday, July 30, 2012

Liz’s Lair: Is It Writer’s Block or Writer’s Life

I know. I know. There are writers out there who say there is no such thing as block—that you just need to put your butt in the chair and write. To them, I say bullshit! It’s like having a migraine and someone tells you to get rid of the stress in your life or to take two Tylenols.

Please. Anyone who has ever had a migraine knows two Tylenols ain’t gonna do it! It leaves me wondering why people say stupid things like that. I confess I may have said a dumb thing every now and then, too.

But I am here to tell you that I am in serious writer’s block right now. And God help the person that tells me to put my butt in the chair!!

It’s not so much writer’s block as writer’s life. I have been so incredibly busy this month that I can’t even find the time to come up for air. You’ve heard the whining before, so I won’t even go into why I am so stressed. I just know that even when I do find a little time to write—and that happens very infrequently lately—the words won’t come or they suck.

I am in deep trouble here with a deadline looming, followed by another one 5 months later. It’s one of those “be careful what you ask for things.” My agent said she wants her writers to always love the actual act of writing.

I told her that ship had sailed for me. Ever since I got deadlines, I’ve felt pressured. And here’s why. It took me over ten years to write my first book, and in a little under two years, I’ve had to write 3 more with another two in the next 8 months. So what’s a girl to do?

I’ll tell you what. I made a promise to myself today first of all to quit whining. Sheesh! I’m beginning to sound like one of those people who tell you their whole unhealthy life story when you ask “How are you?”

I’m making a pledge today that I will write 25 pages a week until I finish the book with the deadline coming up. I know that doesn’t seen like much, but for me, it is. I am an OCD editor and can’t just keep on writing without editing. 

I just got home from a week with my kids and grandkids, and although we had a blast, I was without wifi and inspiration the entire time. In the middle of the week I got the copy edits for MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT which will release January 1st and realized I hadn’t even debuted the cover yet. I wasn’t crazy about the cover for LIVER LET DIE, but I loved both BEEF STOLEN-OFF’s cover and this one. Berkley really did a good job. So—drum roll, please—here it is. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Fortunately for me, the edits are not too bad and will only take about a half a day. So tomorrow is the day for eating healthier and writing with more discipline. Anyone with me?? Tell me how you deal with pressure and block.

And just because I want to, here’s a picture of the family at Salt Lick. My SIL watches the food channel and he was dying to go here. The other picture is of three of my grandkids. Is it any wonder I haven’t written in a while with adorable faces like that wanting me to play with them?? Good thing I am not in Nana block!!


Cassy Pickard said...

Liz: You have every reason to give yourself a break. You have been non-stop. If you can't find the time to be with those gorgeous kids I'm coming at you with a wet noodle.

As for writer's block- well I'm not sure I believe in it. I think it's called LIFE. We can't do everything all the time. Plus, who would we be without letting the special people have their time?

Anita Clenney said...

Love the pictures, Liz. And I love the cover.It really is great.

I'm in the same boat with writer's LIFE. It's been busy here and I've been tweaking the heck out of Guardians of Stone during the copy edits. But I have another deadline soon. And I have to get the next warrior story out. Readers are begging for it. It's terrible pressure.

I don't have a good answer for your or my dilemma except find something that will inspire. Movies seem to work well for me. Or maybe read a foodie book and think, "heck I can do better than that!" :)

Don't fret too much. You'll come through. You always do.

Liz Lipperman said...

Cassy, you don't have to tell me this. When those young'ens want me, I'm there. I just need to find a balance when I am under so much pressure.

I can't wait for you to have grandbabies.

Liz Lipperman said...

Thanks, Anita. Today, I spent all day on the edits and I am finally finished. I swear, the recipes in the back of my books take more editing than the entire rest of the books!!I submit them as my own recipes and they change them onto professional ones!!

Katt said...

Hey Liz, I hear ya.
But I'm on a self-imposed deadline so not nearly the pressure you're feeling.

One trick I use is to set smaller goals like, 100 words before breakfast, or each meal.

When I was a runner,(MANY many years ago) I found it really boring to just log miles and always wanted to stop. So I'd do silly things like tell myself, 'just pass one more telephone pole', or 'I'll just run to the next bench'.. and one pole or bench or blue house or whatever at a time, I'd find myself at the end of a five mile run.

So maybe you could try, one sentence at a time, or one paragraph, or one character insight... you get my drift.

Also, one of the groups I play with does BIAW four times a year. That's "Book In A Week"... NO, you don't have to write a book. But, for one week, you're accountable to the group to report in your words written each day. The words are totalled and because you've been tagged either red team or green team, you are contributing to the group's totals.
This keeps me at it. Even if I only write 100 words a day, it's more than nothing and it helps. The big thing with the group is that it has to be new words, no editing allowed and that allows my muse to shake off the traces and have a bit of fun, even if half the words get cut later.

And one more idea... maybe writing a couple of short, short stories for your grandkids would make your muse smile again?

BEST of luck with this, it's a roadblock for sure but heck, we know you'll find your way around it eventually!


Pauline Frisone said...

Hi, I'm a new fan! Just read liver or let die. My daughter hates me for constantly singing the song Live or Let Die and the acoustics that go with it. Because I can't sing with or without a margarita. I totally loved this book. Loved the characters, new twists, and just a fun quick read. Can't wait for more. I hope Alex will be back. Loved him. Love your writing style and titles. I need a laugh in life. And I kept seeing the book at the library and would start singing the song and smiled at the clever title, but wouldn't get the book. Boy I missed out, but worth it to wait for the perfect timing to read it. It always seems when you read about something suspenseful you hear noises...late last night I was reading when Jordan was kidnapped and in the bedroom window was open, heard a car pull up, no door opened, no dogs barked, but heard two short whistles. This is the second time I have heard it and when you are reading novels it makes your heart race and the mind run wild. again thanks for a fun read. Enjoy the summer, but can't wait for more.

Liz Lipperman said...

Those are really good suggestions, Katt. I will definitely try them, especially the short stories for the grandkids. I have never been good with the BIAW kind of writing since I am such an obsessive editor. I went out and bought a timer and I will set it for two hours a day--no internet, no FB, etc. I'll let you know how it works.

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Pauline, thanks so much for making my day. And I didn;t get a new fan--I got a new friend. I hope you keep coming back to M & M.

I love the story about Jordan in the trunk. I have always said I sucked at descriptive writing--going more for action and dialogue. Those two whistles would have been perfect for the story. Are you a writer? If you aren't maybe you should be with your great imagination.