A Writer Not Writing…

One of the hardest thing any writer could ever go through is not writing. I mean it. It’s ridiculous how sometimes words flow easily and sometimes they just sort of putter out, the flames of creativity are extinguished and the writer is left in an endless cycle of house chores and filling coffee cups. But, I think we all go through it.

A lot of writers and well known authors have said that when the block hits, you just have to keep going. Sit down. Type words. Guzzle the bean fuel. Repeat.

There is a lot of truth in that. Still, for the last two years, I haven’t written anything substantial of my own. No new books. No new short stories. Few blog posts of meaning, aside from reviews (which, in total honesty, I totally enjoy because my first love is reading). It feels like my brain has turned to mush and every time I sit down with characters bouncing around in my head (sounds painful, eh?) they just fizzle before I can make anything that makes sense.

I feel that one day I might actually write a book again. I might regain what I’ve lost. I might be able to work through the storm brewing in my head and turn it into a story. I feel like I’m close to meeting that goal. After all, I’m still writing things, just not stories. No new worlds to explore and no new characters to torture.

It makes me wonder what other writers do when they lose someone who took a piece of their heart with them when they left? Up until two years ago, I thought personal losses and heartbreaks were supposed to send writers into a writing frenzy as they drown their sorrows in a bottle of absinthe and bang out hundreds of thousands of words on their vintage type writers, which their agents will immediately declare a masterpiece. I don’t even have an agent. Nor do I have a bottle of absinthe. And, I haven’t owned a typewriter in many a dark moon.

Through the journey of deep loss, I have gained something. I have learned to see the beauty in things I used to take for granted, like the turning of seasons. Sometimes it hurts to know that I’m watching the leaves turn or the snow fall, but my daughter can’t. But, most of the time, the biggest part of me knows she would enjoy it and, more than that, she would want those of us she left shattered to enjoy it, too.

I’m going to make a promise to myself this year that I will at least begin a new novel. I miss magical realism and the thoughts I shift through while writing. I wrote an entire novel in three weeks once. I really want to bring that young, somewhat talented writer back. She is missed.

In the meantime, I have a whole slew of books to get reviews out for. I’m behind. The holidays really kicked my butt and I don’t like being behind. I hope my readers are of a forgiving mind. I’ve read some really great books to share with you lot and I have a few in queue that I believe are going to be hits with the hard case crime crowds.

Stay tuned. Stay warm. Look forward to watching the seasons change again. pexels-photo-573566.jpeg

7 Things A Writer’s Spouse Should Expect

GaimanI sometimes feel very, very sorry for my husband because he’s stuck with me. I’m not the easiest person on the planet to live with. I blame being a hermit for the majority of this, but there are other reasons, I suppose. I’m difficult. Plain and simple. But, I’m a decent writer. So, if you’re in a relationship with a writer and you are planning on marrying them, there are things you should come to expect.

  1. Expect coffee- Expect it at 6 AM, noon, and 4 PM. And sometimes at midnight.
  2. Expect silence- Writer spouse will sometimes vacate all senses. He/She will disappear into their own world for long stretches of time. It is in my experience that these stretches of time are optimal buying times for presents for the writer. Or, ya know, a good time for the spouse to have a bowling night or catch a movie with friends. Whatever.
  3. Expect messy hair and pajamas- I can’t write very well if I’m uncomfortable. And, I can’t shower if I’m in the middle of a big scene.  I know I’m not alone in this.
  4. Expect a blizzard of post-it notes- These little pastel colored sticky paperlets (Is that a word? Heh. It is now.) are excellent for jotting down single thoughts or making short lists of murder suspects. And, they’re all over my kitchen. Also, I have index cards and other piles of papers all over the place. Don’t worry. They file away nicely in large zip-lock bags.
  5. Expect nary a dish to be washed- I wash dishes, sure. But, I don’t wash them when there are only a few in the sink. Now, I realize this drives some people crazy, but shut up. No, really. Shut up. I refuse to abandon my manuscript for three coffee mugs and a couple of saucers.
  6. Expect your bed to be vacated in the middle of the night- Have I mentioned that sometimes the mood to write strikes at the weirdest times? Like, when you’re lying in bed…Because it does.
  7. Expect take out meals- I don’t think a lot of folks would complain about this. My husband doesn’t. The man loves his pizza. Little Caesar’s drive-thru window is a place we frequent. Nobody can beat a quick meal for $5 a pop. But, sometimes cooking is just not on a writer’s mind. Neither is eating, for that matter. Sometimes we just forget that there are other people in the house and that, by most standards, food is expected to be served at some point.

 

10 Things For Writers To Be Thankful For

snoopy-writing

 

  1. Free word processing programs. A lot of writers are on a tight budget (who would have thought, right?), so sometimes it’s convenient to have free MS Word Alternatives. I’ve used Open Office many, many times and I like it quite a bit. It’s more than adequate. Remember the days when computers came equipped with Word? Those were the days, huh?
  2. Coffee pots that turn themselves off. Sometimes, when writing, one might forget to get up and turn it off themselves. Not naming any names or anything…
  3. Friends who are also writers. Online, offline, or anywhere in between, sometimes only another writer will understand what’s going on in our heads. Spouses, children, parents, and other friends may try and do a really great job supporting us, but when you have a deadline and you need a shove, sometimes it just takes another writer to kick your butt into gear. AND, they sometimes know of submission calls you’ve never heard of.
  4. A comfy writing spot. Is it just me, or do other writers out there also have a favorite spot to write? In bed? On the couch? Outside? In the car? You name the place and I promise I know a writer who prefers to write there. I even know a lady who likes to write in her bathroom floor. Beer may or may not play a role in that scenario.
  5. Failures, great and small. Without them, we wouldn’t grow and learn. We all have them. If a writer ever tells you they’ve never failed with a project, they’re just lying.
  6. A life story. Everybody has a life story. Some are normal, but of all the writers I know, I only know a few with a normal upbringing. Experiences gained through childhood and beyond shape who we are as people and that seeps into a person’s writing in so many ways. Be thankful, even if your life has been shitty. Or don’t. That’s up to you.
  7. Bookshelves (or boxes, crates, stacks…) full of books. These are our greatest tools. You can’t write if you don’t read.
  8. Beta readers. These people are crazy important. They’re our test subjects, sort of. They read our books before anyone else. Good betas give honest feedback. I have a beta I know will tell me the truth. If my book sucks, she’ll say, “Honey, this is trash. Fix this shit.” And I totally love her for it.
  9. Imagination and the willingness to use it. Why would a twenty-something scientist’s assistant take off in a beat up Ford to venture into alternate realities, knowing death was always a likely scenario? Because I wanted to write that, that’s why.
  10. Foods of convenience. Frozen or delivery pizzas, ramen noodles, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, microwave meals, soup in a can, Chinese delivery–while I don’t suggest on living off of these things, they come in handy when you have a deadline or when you’re at the end of your novel and you just have to keep going or else you might burst.

10 Things To Know About Your Characters

writer

 

I try to keep a thorough character sketch on each character I write. Sometimes it’s a little bit difficult and I get halfway through a novel and realize there’s something in a character’s past I hadn’t accounted for. There are ten questions I ask myself (and write down) about each character. These questions are not the only things you would find if you started reading through my scribbled folder of character sketches. These are things that go beyond name, hair color, and height. For the sake of helping writers write, I’ll share my questions with you and if you can think of any questions you’d like to add, just write it in the comments!

  1. How does this character make money?
  2. Where have they lived in their lifetime?
  3. What was this character’s family life like? Parents? Siblings?
  4. What kind of education does this character have? Which schools did they go to? What did they study and why?
  5. What are his/her goals? What drives him/her?
  6. What are his/her obstacles? What’s standing in the way of his/her happiness?
  7. Is he/she a party animal, homebody, or somewhere between the two?
  8. What are the character’s strengths and weaknesses?
  9. What are this character’s habits and mannerisms like?
  10. What is the character’s greatest fear?

Astrology and Writing

*Links to all information is provided in the text (hover your mouse and click). If you’d like to share anything else found on the subject, please leave a comment. All in the name  of fun, of course.*

cancer  

Strange bedfellows? I think not. I’ve compiled some different links regarding astrology and writing/writers.

I googled “Writers and astrology” and I came up with a long list of interesting things. The first of which, a blog post from fellow WordPresser, Michael Alexander Chaney. In the post, there is a complete horoscope for each zodiac sign pertaining to writing and a list of famous authors born in those signs. Nobody was born on my birthday, though (bummer). But, in the name of astrology and fun, here is what the post said for Cancer:

The Great Allegorist. Sensitive, driven by the heart, pleasantly reserved, the Cancer is a consummate writer. As poets, they have deep-seeded romantic tendencies, aware of beauty and the pull of a universal truth even when experimenting at the edges of reality. However modernistic or postmodern the primary strains of their writing may be, Cancers seek the truth.  Typically prepossessing as individuals known for their beauty, the Cancer is suspicious of surfaces, grasping instead for that which lies beneath fair exteriors. This tendency lends their work a noticeable darkness, which contrasts against that other remarkable trait in their writing—a penchant for rigid moralizing. Many Cancer writers burst onto the scene with a blockbuster or a masterwork and then retire, crablike, to a more comfortable seclusion.

Another post found here gives a shorter horoscope, but is just as much fun to read as the others.

I found a list of each zodiac and one author born under each sign, too. Here it is:

Aries: Maya Angelou
Taurus: Shakespeare
Gemini: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Cancer: Dan Brown
Leo: J. K. Rowling
Virgo: Agatha Christie
Libra: Oscar Wilde
Scorpio: Sylvia Plath
Sagittarius: Jane Austen
Capricorn: Edgar Allan Poe
Aquarius: Virginia Woolf
Pisces: Anais Nin

And, there’s this:

zodiac

If anybody knows of any more astrology posts about writing, please share them! There are links at the bottom of the page for other things I found, too. Enjoy!

About Rhiannon Mills

Rhiannon Mills lives, loves, and writes in the mysterious mountains of West Virginia. When she isn’t writing, she’s sewing, baking, blogging, reading, or watching documentaries about any number of things. 

More Links: 

If you want to be a writer, what sign should you be? From Ohio Astrology. 

What makes a writer? From Astrolo Cherry. 

What your zodiac sign says about your career, From CNN.