Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

Non-writers just don’t understand: The pain of having to sit on your hands while others work on your WIP

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cnpcqYup. So I’ve got two works in progress right now, in case you haven’t read some of my previous blog entries. Hooligans is set in Northern Ireland, that one’s pretty much done and dusted…apart from the first chapter intervention I’ve got someone helping me with. The second, tentatively called Rafa & Rose, is set in rural Wisconsin. I just sent fifty pages to my co-author, whose job is to A) add Spanish language and Mexican culture references for Rafa’s POV chapters and help write family dynamics B) help me with everything else, from capturing awkward teenage puppy love to describing high school life (ranging from Homecoming competitions to English Lit curriculum πŸ˜› ).

homecomingAs a full-time, unpaid writer, WHAT DO I DO with myself while I wait? Hooligans I really just need that first chapter. Once that’s on lockdown, I’m querying. Rafa & Rose…I really can’t proceed until I get my good, great friend Ana’s feedback. We have to plan a turning point scene that’s of critical importance. Nothing I can do with that one. Which means I’m stuck on both my manuscripts. Non-writers be like read a book or watch a movie or something like normal people do. But my brain is still in the writing zone, you know that creative buzz that fuels all your best writing. The writer’s high, as I call it. I feel it in my brain, but I can’t use it!Β  It’s driving me crazy!

tumblr_inline_mqbuizV6Sb1qz4rgp“Hi, my name is SJC and I’m an (writing) addict….”

Hmm maybe I should paint. Rafa & Rose does feature a Homecoming window painting competition. My MCs get forced to work on it together and that’s what starts their relationship. I could try to recreate their painting…. Though I don’t know if I have the skill haha. Or I could bust out my first novel, the one I made fun of on my blog a few weeks back. I actually have a later draft that’s much better…

Writer friends, whether it’s at the editor’s or with a critique partner or you’re just stuck, what do you do when you can’t work on your MS? Do you ever feel like this? (or am I the weird writer here πŸ˜› )

42 thoughts on “Non-writers just don’t understand: The pain of having to sit on your hands while others work on your WIP

  1. writerdenisedufresne

    Take notes for a new project. That’s what I do. When all that energy settles down, reading is always a good choice. πŸ™‚ Finding something that will help (non fiction) with one of the WIPs, maybe?

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  2. sherryhoward

    It is hard to wait and you don’t want to lose your “flavor” and voice of your current work. Maybe practice a little non- fiction that won’t take you to another setting. Do you keep hoping for a distraction to present itself?

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    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Haha. Good suggestion. I think it usually takes me like a day to transition out of crazy writer mode. Just need to delve into a few other things. What I should really do is get back to reading a bunch of YA (looking at voice and how body language is described) and researching meth addiction and its affects on behavior and health. But writing is just so much more rewarding :P. Anyway, how’s your writing going?

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      1. sherryhoward

        I’m still plugging away. I paused and read a ton of really current YA and few popular from the last few years, for the reasons you mentioned. I’m doing Iowa’s MOOC program for fiction writing now. It’s been interesting. How are you?

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      2. sherryhoward

        I’m still plugging away. I paused and read a ton of really current YA and few popular from the last few years, for the reasons you mentioned. I’m doing Iowa’s MOOC program for fiction writing now. It’s been interesting. How are you? PS. I once knew a meth addict, devastating addiction. People become someone else entirely with that, seemed more consuming than some other addictions based on what I saw. And it literally rots their teeth entirely.

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      3. sjoycarlson Post author

        Oh, great!! Also, what YA have you read? Looking for something to read. Just started 13 Reasons Why, which is interesting because it’s a male POV, which helps with both my MSs and would help with yours, too! Good luck with the program. Meth really is a terrible drug…. My understanding, it’s got the highest relapse rate. If you feel comfortable and are willing, would love to hear more of your observations via email or direct message on twitter.

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      1. sjoycarlson Post author

        Cool, I’ll check Absolute YA! No the capital C just made me think it was a proper noun, therefore like a website or something. Read any good YA lately?

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      2. Jennifer Austin - Author

        I’ve been so busy I haven’t. Trying to read Neal Shusterman’s UnWind series right now. It’s good, I’m just having trouble finding the time. I can’t wait to read Mindy McGinnis’s second book In a Handful of Dust, but I’m being a good girl and letting hubby get it for my birthday.

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  3. christineplouvier

    I knew I was going to Indie publish, so while my first alpha reader had it, I think I was working on the cover and figuring out formatting the text for the printer. I did keep a journal (of sorts) during the last two years of work on it. I’ll have to dig that out and see if it’s any help….

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      1. christineplouvier

        Indie publishing has a “Wild West” sort of feeling to it, and because it’s still a fairly new phenomenon (for our time, at least – it has a long ancient history), a lot of us end up re-inventing the wheel. But I’m glad I knew that I’d be wasting my time with the traditional route, and went ahead with going Indie.

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      2. christineplouvier

        I did two self-help books (which I published myself for distribution to my own clients, when I was still in practice as a nurse consultant), and I published a novel (Irish Firebrands), with a print-on-demand, in 2013.

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      3. christineplouvier

        I like CreateSpace. They’re owned by Amazon, so they’re obliged to ask you if you want to publish with Kindle, too (but Kindle has a nasty contract, which I read in its entirety, so I refused), but otherwise, CS operates independently of the big organization, including producing consistently higher-quality print jobs than the big fella does – and they’re faster, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. christineplouvier

        I e-published for free with Smashwords (who can format for Kindle and a ton of other e-readers), although by the time I signed up with them, I had already signed up independently with Nook, so I opted out of Smashwords distribution to Barnes & Noble.

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      5. christineplouvier

        You can sign independently with just about every e-reader company, without obligation (except for Amazon, as previously mentioned), but that approach entails setting up and keeping track of multiple accounts, so signing with an aggregate distributor like Smashwords can simplify Indie e-publishing, and SW sells direct, too, as well as distributing to libraries. The last time I looked, CreateSpace didn’t do hardcover, so I’ll have to use a different POD for hard-bound gift editions (possibly LuLu; they offer terms similar to CS’s).

        Liked by 1 person

      6. christineplouvier

        Before formatting for POD, I’d also recommend first to follow the free Smashwords e-formatting guide, and then build on the stripped-down manuscript you get, for the printer’s template. It will be easier, that way. I had done the POD first, so, in effect, I had a ton of reverse engineering to do, to format for Smashwords. But I went slow, with that, so it passed the SW meat-grinder on the first submission. (I was programming computers before the last two generations of users were born, so I know you can’t rush the beasts.)

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  4. Angela Sylvia

    After I’ve sent a bunch of stuff to friends, I take a short break to decompress, then I start something new. Maybe I’ll use it, maybe I’ll ditch it, but it will keep my writing muscles stretched. And it doesn’t have to be another novel, it could be a short story, an essay, maybe I really focus on my backlog of reviews… Even prewriting a bunch of blog posts. Don’t stop writing. Ever. O_O

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    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Lol I don’t think I could. I’m kind of an addict πŸ˜› Yeah, not going to lie, I’ve actually started re-working the first chapter of Rafa & Rose because of the evolving storyline πŸ˜€ Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Marianne Knowles

    It sounds like you don’t feel like getting out, but even a trip to a place you’ve been before looks completely different if you go with your writer’s eye and the intent of scoping out new plots and settings. And once an idea lands on your shoulder, you’re good to go with a new project. My two cents!

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    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      I’m not going to lie. My brain currently only understands how to write novels. Haven’t written anything short since like high school lol. Go big or go home πŸ˜› So what I actually did was went and looked at the start of Rafa and Rose… Now that I’m about halfway through writing the first draft, I have a much better idea of where/how I need to start πŸ˜›

      Liked by 2 people

      1. authorleighmichaels

        All the more reason to try something different. Forcing your brain to do something it’s not used to will be like exercise for the brain and will help you stretch your writing abilities :-).

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  6. paulareuben8

    Sometimes, just sometimes, working with something other than words — knitting a scarf (or learning how to),planting winter vegetables, trying new recipes, painting the living room wall — might help.

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    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Yeah, I should really delve back into oil painting…. I even brought all my stuff with me lol. It’s amazing how doing things like what you suggested refreshes your brain. And how your subconscious can sometimes figure out amazing things to do with your MS! Thanks for the comment πŸ˜€

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