A peek at my WIP ‘Finding Immortal’ and my battle with ‘the pit’

For the last few days I’ve been in a funk. You know that point where you can no longer form a coherent sentence? Where any words you string together are a bit crap, or even a lot crap. And even those times where you seem to be able to kill it when writing dialogue but as soon as you need to add the action, reaction, emotion, you fall on your ass and pick yourself up only to rather unceremoniously face plant the floor? That stage of writing – that’s where I’m at. In that dark little pit trying to claw my way out. Of course, the faster I claw, the further I slip so maybe some quiet contemplation is needed. Hmm.

I keep reading and rereading my earlier chapters and thinking – hey, I wrote that, I like it – so why can’t I do it anymore? I dunno. We all get to this stage though, that’s for sure. Then, at some point, something strikes and we can do it again. I’m waiting for that moment, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a little bit of my WIP because one of my cp’s tagged me to do so. So here’s the opening of Finding Immortal – it’s still a little rough around the edges and there’s stuff I need to add per my amazing cp’s advice.

Finding Immortal

The text notification from my cellphone cut into my thoughts with the sharpness of a razors edge. Another message from Alex. I knew without casting so much as a glance at the screen. It was always him. Lana preferred email and sent me pictures of whatever country she’d chosen to gallivant through that week. I tipped my head back, staring into the sky above the Mallory estate. Clouds, heavy with the weight of unfallen snow, hung low, threatening to explode at any moment.

Lucas shifted next to me on the cold porch steps. “Aren’t you going to read it?” His breath billowed into the air, mixing with the muted light of the frosty morning.

Shaking my head, I pulled my phone from my jeans pocket and tossed it to Lucas. “No point.” Alex’s messages only ever consisted of one letter, a simple ‘x’, and though I’d replied on several occasions, asking how and where he was, he never responded.

Lucas slipped my cell into the front pocket of his green hoodie.

I tried to take a deep breath, but the familiar stabbing at my chest prevented anything more than a small inhale. For the past three months, the simplest of things hurt, opening my eyes each morning ranking amongst the most painful. My mind began to fog, pulling me back to the night of the ferocious battle with Sol and Selena. The night the colors in my world had paled to barely recognizable blurs of insignificance. Nathaniel’s face flashed and I clawed at the memory, desperate to hold it strong and unwavering, but as always, it faded to obscurity.

I raised my head as the crunch of hurried footsteps sounded across the yard of the Mallory estate. Kyle’s black hair lay flat and damp against his forehead, his maroon t-shirt and gray sweatpants bearing the sweat patches of his run. As he drew closer, he pulled his earphones from his ears and whipped off his top, then used it to scrub the moisture from his face.

Lucas rose from the steps to greet him. “Just in time, breakfast’s ready.”

Kyle slung his t-shirt across one shoulder and used his other hand to rub his taught stomach. “Good, I’m starving.”

Lucas pushed the front door open and stepped inside.

Kyle held his hand out to me. “You coming?”

I dropped my gaze to the ground. “No, I’m not hungry.”

One, two, three. I counted the maroon stripes on Kyle’s sneakers, at the same time, wondering when he’d begun to color co-ordinate his wardrobe.

“Tough shit, babe. You’re eating.” Kyle grasped my wrist and pulled me from my perch. I landed with a thud against his solid chest.

So I’ve kinda killed two birds with one stone(<<< ooo – a cliché, I should know better). I’ve talked about my feelings without talking about my feelings and I’ve shared some words. Now I’m off to stare out of the window. Hope the rest of you are coming along well in your writing endeavors!

Writers Despair

We’ve all suffered from writers block at one time or another. It is that point where you can’t find the words or the ideas. Everything you write is rubbish. Everything you have already written is rubbish. In fact, everything is rubbish.

Hopefully you can find a way past this before it gets any worse. However, if like me, you find yourself in that deep dark pit that I call writers despair, fear not – there is hope!

We all talk about writers block openly however writers despair gets little mention. It’s almost a taboo subject. I believe this is because it is the deepest darkest parts of us. The part where we believe ourselves to be unworthy. We consider ourselves utter failures and essentially, we give up. What’s more, we sink into a depressive state. We are no longer fun or interesting. We are misery and pain, trapped within hopelessness. Why would we want expose this vulnerable part of ourselves to anyone?

The past few days, without realizing, I have been on a downward spiral. It started with a question I asked myself about the plot in my latest book. Should I do this, or should I do that. What if I do this, no – I’ll do that, but what if it’s doesn’t make sense??!! Then I wrote about 6k words, which to be quite honest, need deleting.

Gradually I found myself writing less and tweeting more. Basically, I was using social networking as a way to put off writing because I didn’t know what to write. I no longer knew how to write. The plot alluded me. My description (which has always received praise) was crap, my dialogue – abominable, my characters – off the rails.

We writers are fickle little things. The more I wrote, the worse I felt. The less I wrote, the worse I felt. You see the problem here? Whether I wrote or not I felt crappy. I was wallowing in self-pity and suffocating in self-loathing. Not attractive qualities. These are the parts of us that we don’t like to talk about. But we should.

With writers block some people get past it by ‘writing through it’ or finding inspiration. However, what happens when you can’t? When the mere thought of putting pen to paper or fingers to keys makes your skin slick and your heart race. What do we do then?

I’ll tell you what I did. I allowed it to consume me. I became irritable. A delight to be around, I was most certainly not. I felt like crying, then I felt like laughing maniacally, then I felt like destroying everything that I had written because it was only fit for the bin. I sunk into the depths of writers hell. What was I thinking? I was not a writer! No one would want to read this, or anything else I had penned. Forget it; it was just a dream. All of this went through my head.

Seriously, doom and gloom – that was me! So how did I pull myself out of it?

In short – I didn’t.

Other writers did.

This morning I received my MS back from a wonderful Beta reader. She grabbed me under the armpits and hauled my ass out of the chasm of despair. She gave me detailed and constructive feedback, praised my work and advised of any changes she felt necessary. She made me feel like I could write.

Yes, I could write.

Then, later today, I received a tweet. I tweeted last night: “I give up for the night. At the point where I think the whole last chapter is rubbish #writerproblems”

The reply I received today was: “You’re not giving up, you’re taking a break and coming back stronger.”

And there we have it, muddy and bruised, I was out of the pit that I had fallen into.

Neither of these writers knew what I was going through. Both of them just made contact at the right time. They didn’t know because I didn’t tell them or anyone else. I didn’t express my anger or frustrations. Now I know I should have.

We need to talk to each other about this. We need to air our feelings and in turn we need to be willing to listen to others whenever they happen to fall into despair. It is not whining; it is genuine turmoil. We should not feel as though it is a taboo subject because it shouldn’t be. There is an army of writers on Twitter more than willing to drag you from despair, allow them to.

For now, I’m going to take a beat and do some editing. Well, it doesn’t cure itself in a day!

And to @ReadWriteLove28 and @DarrylDonaghue – thank you. I live to write another day.

Finding Inspiration. Stopping Writers Block before it starts!

Like many writers there are times when I just can’t find the words. Everything I write is absolute rubbish with a capital R. When I find myself in this pit I also find it extremely difficult to get out of.

My worst bout went on for a few weeks. I finally found what I wanted when I was out walking by myself one day. I was thinking about my book and the problem that I was facing and the answer just hit me. That was a good day. That night I was back to where I wanted to be. Writing.

I don’t want to experience that again. What writer does? So, I found my muse.  Something that helps me to stop writers block before it starts.

Every night I listen to a song before I start writing. Sometimes the words or the tune reflect the mood in my writing at the time. Other times they just relax me and get me in the right head-space for writing. Either way I have found it extremely helpful. I’m not saying that it works 100% of the time but it has certainly made a big difference.

I started tweeting ‘The Song before the Words’ most nights with a link to the song that I was listening to. I don’t know if it will help any of you at all but if it only helps one person then that is a good thing.

So here is my list of the songs that I have listened to in the past few months in the minutes before I start writing. I don’t listen to a new song every night, I stick with the one that I am currently using at that time so the list is not huge! If you click on the title of the song it will take you to youtube where you can listen to it, if you want!

Human’ by Christina Perri.

A Drop in the Ocean‘ by Ron Pope

Sad Romance‘ by Ji PyeongKeyon (This is a beautiful violin piece)

Let Her Go‘ by Passenger

Say Something‘ by A Great Big World ft Christina Aguilera (This one I listen to for the violin piece at the end)

Love’s to Blame‘ by Joel and Luke (this is a heart breaker!)

A Reason to Hope‘ by Ron Pope

All of Me‘ Tiesto remix by John Legend (Way more upbeat!)

Solace‘ by Runaground

Fall at your Feet‘ by Crowded House

Shelter‘ by Birdy

Wait for Me‘ by Kings of Leon

I may have forgotten one or two but there they are. They vary in style but I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! If you have a song that you think helps I would love to hear it!


Love E.L