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Sunday, January 18, 2009


The Writing Help Line

Every morning for the past 5 months you've gotten up at 3 a.m. to work on your novel before you head to work. You awake refreshed, humming, ready to meet the page and never whispering one complaint about the process. Words have flown through you effortlessly, your plot is flawless, and your characters are foolproof. On this particular morning you hum a little louder as you finish the very last paragraph of this book -- your third-- and your editor is eagerly awaiting for it but not for another week as you are ahead of your deadline.

Sounds perfect doesn't it? It's a good thing we all realize that the writing life doesn't typically look like this fairy tale. Refreshed every morning at 3 a.m.? I'm lucky I can form words that early, nonetheless complete sentences, so pass me a large pot of coffee please. Humming? Not on your life and anyone that chipper before the sun rises will be shot on sight. No complaints? Don't bet on it! I'm not even trying to hide my grumbles under my breath. I want to get this novel written and know it takes dedication and desire, but some days, I just want to throw my hands up and say "Why can't I just be satisfied to read the words? Why do I insist on writing them?"

It's the mornings when I just don't want to leave my cozy warm bed that I wish I had a buddy to call, someone to coach me to my MacBook and remind me that I'm not alone in this world of novel writing. Is there such a thing as a writer's help line? Can I call up at 1 a.m. and let them know that I just don't know where this story is going and they can talk me through a rough patch? Can I call and let them know how frustrated I am and that I'm ready to through my entire manuscript in the fireplace and they'll help me put the lighter fluid down?

Sometimes I wish finding the help was that simple and I could have the number on speed dial. I have a feeling this would be one very popular service. Maybe I'll start one (ah, the writer in me finding ways to procrastinate once more!).

Where is it that you find support? What serves as your personal help line?


Anonymous Michelle Kafka said...

I don't write novels or short stories yet. I find support in reading other blogs like Life Of A Writer, Men With Pens, Deb Ng's Freelance Writing Jobs, Anne's About Freelance Writing. I also find support through talking with my kids. Each in its own way helps.

Joining forums and groups helps also.

You can lean on yourself for support too.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Allena said... I guess it's not support I use to motivate me, but ambition. I think of how MAD I'll be if something happens and I don't finish my novel.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Sugarloaf said...

My husband encourages me to write while I encourage him to write music. Since we are both artists in different genres, we can really keep each other motivated. For example, if he's working on a song, I better be working on my novel!

5:20 PM  
Blogger Magaly Guerrero said...


I started reading your post and my first thought was “What am I doing wrong? I can barely get up, overdose on coffee, and crawl to the treadmill in the morning. What’s this superwoman’s secret…?” Then I got to the part about the “grumbles” and realized that you are human as I am. It felt good! Almost as good as finishing that perfect scene that makes you smile to yourself, and say aloud, “Um, I’m good!”

Now better go and get my clothes ready for tomorrow. I have to be at work early, and according to the weather forecast, I will be doing some shoveling before I leave. ***recalling great scene*** “Um, I’m good!”

5:59 PM  
Blogger Water Lily said...

I'm glad to see this blog on writing...I am writing articles that would be geared for teachers, teacher educators, and educational researchers, and wish I could get support with that. The processes and the struggles are similar to fiction sometimes get have to have some sense of where you're going before you try to go there in writing...and it can be a muddled effort, riddled with the back and forth, back and forth composing and revising process that drives me crazy, sometimtes. The content...the genre conventions...the varied expectations of research journals and the varied needs of the audiences...I wish I had a simple way of dealing with all this, or perhaps some suggestions for how to stay focused on and enjoy the process.

3:43 PM  

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