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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Finding the Groove

I've never had writer's block, at least not how I think of writer's block. To me, it's when no words come at all and that's something I've never had to deal with. I do, however, have a problem finding the groove.

I love the groove! Sometimes I call it the zone, or an altered state or other things, but it's when you fall into the book. The characters are talking, the scene is clear and I can't type fast enough to keep up with what's going on. I wish I could find this place immediately when I start a book, or if I have a book going, find it as soon as I open the file. When it's coming fast and furious like this, I don't stop to edit myself. It's what I refer to as barfing on the page. Yeah, pretty image, I know, but I've been using this term for years because it fits perfectly.

The last three months writing In the Midnight Hour were like this, but I deserved it because I fought and fought and fought through the first two months of this book. I have the bruises to prove it. ;-)

That's where I'm at right now with my new book. I'm slogging my way through brambles and struggling to get what I see in my head down on the page. It's ugly. I've trashed everything I've written more than once. But while I'm pulling the words out of myself one agonizing sentence at a time, I'm also hopeful that today will be the day I find the groove again. Writers are either masochists or eternal optimists--I'm not sure which.

I'm still looking for some magical way to skip this part and just jump into the groove. It's torture, the most miserable point in a book, and yet I do it over and over and over again. When the writing is like this, it's real easy to find other things to do--like cleaning. Or mah jong. Or surfing the net. Anything is more fun.

I was talking to a friend last night and she has the same problem. It made me curious if any writer avoids this place of struggle and procrastination or if we all suffer through it. Does anyone jump right into the groove and never fall out of it? Is there some way to put yourself in the groove without the days/weeks/months of struggle? I'd love to hear tips on how to avoid (or shorten) this stage. So far the only thing I've found is to just keep writing until I clear it.