I know this might seem weird to some of you (especially my fellow bloggers) but it's just how I work. The moment I plan a blog post is the moment the excitement and drive to write it fizzles right out of me into a puddle on my keyboard. It's just like when someone tells me what to do. Even if I was planning on doing it anyway, any desire and drive to do it suddenly leaves and I search for every reason not to do it. It's just the way I am.
If I say, "I'm going to write about [insert random topic] next week," then when next week rolls around ... I find my motivation to write about that topic has drained away (usually. There are sometimes exceptions).
Do you find this happening to you?
Some call it "writers block".
I call it not writing from your heart.
Anyway. What happens when your heart is in something?
When you put your heart into something, it comes to life.
Suddenly, they aren't just words on a page. They are words that have been uttered through clenched teeth by the character you created. You can almost hear them being spoken as you read. You can see the setting and you can feel the hurt and anger your characters feel in the sting of a betrayal, or the rush of joy they get when they see an old friend.
But how do you write from your heart?
Writing just what you "feel" like writing is dangerous sometimes (kind of like how I wait for a feeling to write blog posts. It's not uncommon for Friday to arrive and BOOM I don't know what to write about OOPS).
You want to write from your heart, what you're passionate about ... but in order for it to come truly from your heart it has to mean something to you. It has to be more than just a feeling. It has to mean more than just "Oh, I like this idea! It looks shiny and fun! Let's ditch everything and write this now!"
Those are distractions. They're fun little ideas, but often those need to be given a bit of attention (just enough to lull the bunny to sleep, if you will) so you can focus on your current project.
The one that you're five drafts into.
How? How are you five drafts into this? Heck, how are you half way through a second draft? Because second drafts are hard, guys. Second drafts are ugly. They're messy, and so far they're not really much fun.
So why do we keep writing?
With my WIP, The Thief's Conspiracy (TC), I am slugging through the second draft, which I had to start over again last week. It is hard. It is taking forever. I've been working on this draft for months. Seven months, to be exact. (granted I took almost two months off, but still.)
When I look at it like that, I get really discouraged. I think, "This is taking forever. I just want to write something easy that has no problems."
But I know I never will. Because a) all books have problems, but b) I will never abandon TC. It simply means too much to me.
Because I wrote it straight from my heart. Writing that book was the equivalent of cutting my chest open and bleeding onto the keyboard. My soul went into this project. I cried as I wrote parts of it. I sympathize with all the characters on a deep level.
Because it all came from my heart. It came like all ideas do: new, exciting, intriguing. It captured my attention and I bounded after it. I wrote a few pages of notes for it, then tucked it away for a while. When I decided it was time to move on from my old series and start a whole new project, there it waited.
I'm not sure what drove me to choose that idea from the other files in the idea folder on my computer. But that was the one I picked, and from there, my creativity exploded.
Because I decided to do it. I decided I was going to write it.
And from that moment on, I truly loved my story. That story became a part of my heart, because I chose to make it so.
Do you see what I'm saying here? It's the same concept as love. Love is not a feeling. You love your parents, right? But do you always like them? Do you always want to hug them and gush about how amazing they are?
The same principle applies to your stories. You won't always like them. You'll want to ditch them for something that doesn't give you as much trouble. You'll want to run after pretty new plot bunnies. But you don't. Not if you've made that decision to love your story.
So here are a few tips on how to capture it while you still have that "feeling." Cause, don't get me wrong: the feeling really helps. Wanting to write your book sure makes it a lot easier. Wanting to edit (is that a thing???), wanting to solve the plot issues, having that desire makes everything a lot easier.
Write it when it comes to you.
When I first get an idea, it is so exciting. I'm sure it's the same way for all of you. It's new, it's fresh, and there are so many possibilities waiting to be explored. Write down the heart of that idea, the beginnings of it. Write it down, before there are any plot holes or character issues or anything. Just write it down.
Then take your time with it.
If you're a planner, take your time planning! Keep your journal (or document) open at your side, and let the idea of the project fill your mind. Explore it, ask lots of questions, and have fun.
If you're not a planner, take your time with the first draft! If you don't enjoy writing first drafts, then maybe don't take your time with it, but if you love first-drafting, try not writing so fast. Try taking your time, mulling things over, and enjoying the freedom.
Capture the desire while you feel it.
This kind of goes back to my post on capturing the heart of your story. Capture that initial love for it. The reason you started. The reason you chose this idea. The reason you chose to love it.
You'll feel the benefits.
I make sure I write every blog post from my heart. If I'm not feeling a topic I've chosen, I don't write it. I write something else. I remember one Friday night, at nine or ten o'clock, I had planned a blog post and written half of it earlier that week but I just wasn't feeling it. And so I opened a new doc and poured out a totally new post that I had not planned to write at all. Guess what? It's my most popular post on this blog.
And you want to know a scandalous little secret? *leans close and whispers* I don't edit my blog posts. *winces as every reader gasps and stares* I KNOW I KNOW IT'S PROBABLY REALLY NAUGHTY THAT I DON'T. I do a liiiiitle bit. (I edited this one a bit, actually.) I will read it once I'm done writing it, and then tweak a few things sometimes. But when I write a post, it's usually something that has been on my mind/heart for a while or at least stewing in the back of my mind. I haven't planned when I'll write it, and I wait for the feeling that I should. And then I do.
I hope some of this helped you, and it wasn't too all over the place XP Hehe now that I say I don't plan blog posts, I'm going to announce that I've actually planned blog posts for all of October! (Well, right now I haven't, but I have vague idea for what I'll do.) Let's just say, it's going to be NanoThemed *mysterious grin* and YOU WILL STILL HOPEFULLY ENJOY IT EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT DOING NANO. but duuuuudes you totes shoullllld.
Do you struggle to write from your heart? What are your tips on doing so? ARE YOU DOING NANO??? (i know i already asked this