Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Write With Enthusiasm

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What a great quote, don’t you agree? I guess that could pertain to many aspects of our lives…
but for now, I was thinking more particularly of writing.

It seems that the story easier to write (not that I am implying any of them are easy to write per se, but rather that stories that seem to maybe flow more smoothly?) are those we feel more excited about rather than those we may be having problems with such as writer’s block, etc.

One thing that can destroy my enthusiasm when it comes to writing is feeling that I have to have it all figured out before I write. If I don’t, I can find myself getting easily discouraged and feeling as if I have no story to write.

I realize this can actually be a form of sabotage for me. I didn’t actually “know” the answer to the mystery of my third book until it was time to reveal it. Even then it took two weeks to figure out how to make it all come together. It was a really fun way to write. The mystery was a mystery even to myself. Of course, I had to go back and do some “filling in” to make the whole story fit together, but to date, it’s been my most “enthusiastic” project.

Often times ideas come up that you never plan on when you write and the story takes on a whole new life. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but how will you ever know if you don’t get excited and start-- or if discouragement prevents you from even beginning the process?

My advice here is get your ideas written down quickly; those that made you feel enthusiastic about your story to begin with. If/when your storyline strays from those ideas, you can always go back and make any wanted changes. But who knows? You may find you feel even more enthusiastic about your story as you go along than your original ideas led you to feel in the first place.

I’m going to end here and open this post up to anyone else who may have additional ideas or thoughts about keeping up the enthusiasm, and not getting discouraged as we write along.

As for that great quote by Mr. Emerson, here's hoping that everyone is able to achieve great things and may we find that we are able to do so with enthusiasm!


Cheri J. Crane said...

I was once asked if I create an outline for my storylines as I write. The answer to that would be a resounding "NO!" Every author is different, and I'm possibly one of the strangest, but I find that outlines hamper my creativity.

I prefer the process you describe--I just let things flow along. I do put together a character list that contains details about each character--this prevents confusion as I write. Once I even drafted a complete pedigree chart to make sure all of the dates and relationships were accurate.

I do tons of research for each book; even though I write fiction, I want the details to be on the mark.

Aside from those items,I tend to let my imagination control each scene in my book. And it always amazes me how things seem to tie together at the end when each manuscript is finished.

Great blog post, Jeri! =) And I love the quote you shared.

Stephanie Black said...

Great post, and one that I need right now--I'm struggling to brainstorm a new project, and have really been dragging my heels. I need a good burst of enthusiasm!

I think one thing that helps me in the writing process is to not be too critical in the first draft--to remind myself that it's only a first draft and I can fix it later. I'd much rather have a messy first draft to work with than a blank screen.

Jennie said...

Enthusiasm for your story is important. I don't remember who said something that has stuck with me. "If the writer is bored with what she or he is writing; the reader will be too." I mostly write without an outline, but I do often stop to outline a scene or a chapter as I go. I like to have a general theme or concept in mind and I usually write it down to remind me where I'm going.

Lynn Gardner said...

Amen to all comments above. I like to establish my characters and get to know them really well, then turn them loose with a few problems to solve and hit them with a few more later on and see how they resolve them. You must have enthusiasm for them and your story - or no one else will!!