UPDATE: This giveaway is now over. Thank you to everyone who responded with such enthusiasm! Here are the fifteen winners of a book from my “grab bag” of slightly damaged books:
- Elizabeth Dent
- Julie Trout
- Vanessa Bockover
- Brenda Veinotte
- Kathleen Grieser
- Tammy Courts
- Peg (mquirk1)
- Pat Moore
- Liz (guruontop)
- Kristie (connectionlifechurch)
- Marilyn Dotson
Congratulations to all of you! Please send your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your autographed book!
Nine Ways to Fight Writer’s Block
Today, I’d like to answer a question asked by one of my reader friends.
She asked: “How do the ideas keep flowing once you have started your book?”
I actually have an arsenal of ways to keep a story going. But let me begin with what doesn’t help: banging my head against a wall and wailing, “What happens next?” That only leaves me with a headache, and it’s much harder to think with my head pounding.
Here are some methods that do work:
Prayer. Music. Going for a walk. Watching a movie. Or calling my editor. Those things will often get the wheels in my head turning.
But one of the most effective ways to break through the “What comes next?” question is my least favorite: HOUSEWORK.
An hour of scrubbing a floor or bathroom is fantastic for getting ideas. Plot lines start flowing like mad. My personal theory as to why this method works so well is that my subconscious decides writing isn’t all that hard after all. Also, my mind is highly motivated to come up with any solution just as long as I can return to my chair now!
Unfortunately, when I do get back to my chair, I realize that my subconscious was wrong. Writing isn’t necessarily easier than scrubbing floors, just different. So I start complaining at myself. “Focus, Woodsmall. What’s the matter with you? You know how to think. So start doing that and let’s get this story moving!”
At times I invite my husband and a friend or two onto the back porch, serve them a cool drink in summer or a warm one in colder weather, and then refuse to release them until they help me figure out what happens next. This is painful for them because I’ll discount hundreds of their ideas before something they say sparks an ah-ha moment for me. Usually by that time, my friends are very hungry and wondering why they thought remaining my friend after I was published might be fun. My husband knows the drill, and he’s not one to get hungry often, which is good because since the children are grown, I’m not one to cook often. (During my seventeen years of homeschooling, I prepared three meals a day, plus snacks, and made homemade breads almost daily. Now I’m in a very different season. As far as cooking goes, it’s a rather lean season. The truth is, since my husband’s hours were cut because of the downturn in the economy, he does most of the cooking.)
Less cheeky ways to get fresh ideas involves calling my Amish friends and ask if they have any ideas. Sometimes they’ll tell me the rumors going around at the last Amish gathering they attended. My writing partner for Plain Wisdom, Miriam Flaud, never shares rumors, but she will describe actual events she’s witnessed (when she’s asked the people involved for their permission). So I get mostly heartfelt, gentle story lines from her, which I love. So I rely on other Amish friends for the edgier story lines that get the young women in my novels in difficult circumstances or in trouble with their church leaders.
Spending the night at Amish friends’ homes helps a lot. Sometimes when I’m visiting my Amish friends, other women will drop by, bringing goodies, and share stories from their lives, even asking if I can use them in my books. This is an all-time favorite method, and such an honor!
One thing I enjoy doing when I get stuck for ideas is getting on the Web and mingling with my reader friends online. That always helps my mood, and I love it … too much! Unfortunately, it has never given me a solution to what needs to happen next in a scene. And I’m currently a bit stuck as I write on book three in Amish Vines and Orchards series, so as much as I’d love to share more with you on this topic, I gotta go … because For Every Season is waiting on me.
If you have concerns that you could miss one of my books coming out, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter. It will give you an easy, consistent way of knowing when I have another release. To sign up for Plain News, go to http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/plain-talk/newsletter/
So, what about you? Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me? If so, feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll see what I can do about answering it in a future blog post!
15 Books to Give Away
I have 15 books to give away!
I’ve collected a box of slightly damaged books. Some I made a mistake on while signing, so they’re missing the title page. Others were damaged in shipping. But each book still contains all of the content pages and the entire story.
I will pull fifteen winners using Random.org. As I pull each winner, I will reach into my box and select a book at random for that winner to receive.
If you’d like to enter for a chance to win one of my slightly damaged books, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post on my website.
If you are reading this anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website (http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/2013/01/23/5-ways-to-fight-writers-block/) and leave a comment at the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway.
Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway. (It’s just too hard to track down all the comments left in various places, and that means it’s too easy to miss some of the comments.)
The deadline for this contest Wednesday, January 30, 2013, at noon. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post.
Last week’s winner of an issue of Cooking & Such: Adventures in Plain Living magazine is Sally Roehr. Congratulations, Sally!