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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, December 29, 2013

6 Writing Dragons: How To Slay Them...and Realize Your Writing Dreams in 2014

by Ruth Harris

Why Tough (Self-) Love (and Some Dragon-Slaying) Will Get You Where You Want To Be Next Year

The reasons (excuses?) for not writing/not getting your book finished often come down to six usual suspects:

1) The Procrastination Dragon

As if you don’t know what I’m talking about. ;-) But, just in case you only recently landed on Planet Earth, here’s a short list:
  • You’re tweeting instead of writing.
  • You’re surfing the web instead of writing.
  • You’re making coffee instead of writing. 
  • You’re answering emails instead of writing.
  • You’re cleaning the bathroom instead of writing.
  • You’re organizing your spices instead of writing.

Bottom line: You’re doing anything and everything you can think of exceptwrite.

2) The Interruption Dragon
  • The phone.
  • The kids.
  • The dog. 
  • The cat.
  • Your husband/wife/significant other.
  • The Amazon drone delivering 3 pairs of gym socks you ordered half an hour ago.
  • You lose your train of thought. If you were in the zone, you’re now out of the zone. If you weren’t in the zone, you’re now out in Siberia.
How can you be expected to write if you’re being interrupted all the time?

3) The What-Happens-Next? Dragon

Your MC is on the top branch of a burning tree and the bad guys are down below. With guns, knives, IEDs, RPGs, snarling tigers. machetes and blowtorches.
  • So now what happens?
  • What does the MC do?
  • What do the bad guys do?
  • What does his/her husband/wife, cubicle mate, best friend, bridge partner, girl friend/boy friend, Pilates teacher, dog walker, nutty neighbor, favorite TV comedian or movie star do?
  • Who says what? And to whom?
You mean you don't know? Don't even have a clue?

4) The Fear and Loathing Dragon 

  • You forgot why you’re writing the damn book and you hate every word anyway because you’re a no-talent nobody.
  • You can’t figure out whether it’s a comedy, a thriller, urban fantasy, horror or romance. 
  • You can’t remember why you started the stupid thing in the first place. 
  • You have no idea what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you got from there to here.

Excessive, much?

Not really.

Writers, like everyone else, have mood swings. Not enough for clinical intervention but enough to—at least temporarily—undermine confidence and forward progress.

5)  The "Dream Big" Dragon

You’re writing the Great American/Latvian/Cambodian novel. It’s so wonderful you’ll reach millions and millions of readers everywhere.

An invitation to the White House, to a billionaire’s yacht, to a fabulous mansion on a private island in the Caribbean is in the mail. Beautiful, brilliant people are lined up, just waiting to experience the exquisite pleasure of your company.

And, while you’ve unleashed your imagination about the rewards about to come pouring down on you, please, definitely do not forget the prizes:

  • The NBA (Not the one that’s played by tattooed seven feet tall men aka hoops. The other one.). 
  • The Booker. 
  • The Legion of Honor. 
  • The Nobel. 
  • The Pulitzer.

The list is endless.

Which leads us to—

6) The Perfection Dragon

Every word chiseled in marble. Every syllable a treasure for the millennia. So, of course, it has to be perfect. That’s why you have that infallible misery-maker, your own personal internal critic, to tap you on the shoulder and remind you of every terrible thing anyone ever said about you, your crappy taste in clothes and your rotten books.

  • You’re so terrible, even your dog hates you.
  • You write. And rewrite.
  • Consider and reconsider.
  • Contemplate and then contemplate some more.
  • You hit the delete button. Then the undo. You open the sentence-in-question in two documents and review them side by side. Still can’t decide which one is better so you write a third version.
  • Which just adds to the confusion and misery as you scratch your chin and tear your hair (at the same time if at all possible because—don’t forget!—we’re going for perfection here) and try to decide whether or not afourth version is called for.

Getting to the point: 

Here is where tough love comes in because, believe it or not, every item on this gruesome list is identical. Each one, no matter the superficial differences, is a self-inflicted wound.

That’s right: you caused your own suffering.

It’s your fault.

You did it to yourself.

You’re the dragon.

Once you truly understand that you are the cause of your dilemmas and frustrations, you are halfway to conquering them.

We are not in “it-hurts-so-good-don’t-stop” mode here. We are in destructive, self-defeating territory, a lethal terrain in which you will never get your book written, much less edited, revised, proof read and published.

Which is actually the good news and the point of this post. Since whatever is going wrong is something you are doing to yourself, you are the one who can undo the damage.

Let’s slay them one by one:

1) Procrastination 

Are you an adult? Or a kid who doesn’t want to go to school because there’s a history test today and you haven’t done your homework? The real answer is—or should be—that you’re a professional and professionals get the job done.

  • You shut down the internet.
  • You let the soap film remain on shower curtain. Until later. Afteryou’ve done the day’s work.
  • So the oregano is next to the thyme, not next to the pepper where it belongs? BFD.
  • You’re the boss of you. You’re a grown up. You do not give in to your self-defeating tendencies. You go back to your desk and get back to work. If you can’t do that, then you have to wonder how committed you are to your work.

Are you serious? Or are you just fooling around—and fooling yourself in the process?

2) Interruptions
  • Turn off the damn phone.
  • Close the door.
  • Put up a “do not disturb” sign.
  • Make a deal: Trade a hour of uninterrupted work for an hour of errands/child care/chores: you’ll walk the dog (the one who hates you)/do the grocery shopping/take the kid to soccer practice in exchange.
  • If your family doesn’t respect your work, doesn’t that mean you have somehow given them the signal that it’s OK to barge in and interrupt you with whatever?

Nora Roberts famously said that she will allow interruptions only in the case of blood and/or fire. NR is as professional as it gets. Isn’t her no-nonsense attitude something to emulate?

3) The What-Happens-Next? Syndrome

You’re stuck and then what? You got yourself into this pickle and it’s up to you to get yourself out.

Here is where experience is crucial. Every writer, no exceptions that I’ve ever known of or heard of, faces the blank wall, the blank screen, the blank brain. Every writer has been there before and every writer has escaped because, if they hadn’t, no book would ever have been finished.

What you need to do is develop a backlog of techniques that will get the work moving again.
  • Brainstorm with a trusted friend.
  • Go to your junk file. By that I mean drafts you wrote but junked. Never delete unused paragraphs or scenes, just put them in a junk file. When you’re stuck, open the file. You may well find just the right route forward in something you once rejected.
  • Make a list. Steven Sondheim spoke of making a list of all the words that might apply to the song he was writing. That list, SS said, revealed hidden connections he hadn’t seen before. There’s no reasons that approach can’t work for a writer.
  • Have a glass of wine. I am not talking about getting rip-roaring drunk. I am talking about having a glass of wine with dinner. The combination of a small amount of alcohol, a relaxed mood and diverting conversation can spring open a door that has been stubbornly closed.
  • Go for a walk. Take a shower. Weed the garden. Very often just getting away from your desk and engaging is a different activity is enough to break the block.
  • Face up to your own tics and twitches. For me, it’s beginnings. When I’m stuck, I go back and reread. Almost invariably, the hang up is somewhere in the beginning: either I’ve told too much or not enough. 

After I figure out the problem and make the necessary edits, I can go forward again. Once you see a pattern to your own bad habits, you will be able to develop coping techniques you can turn to again and again.

4) Fear and loathing 

Happens to everyone. I’m not joking, either.

In fact, fear and loathing are so predictable that I and many other writers have come to see F & L as a normal part of the process.

  • Going back to your original outline can help. So can reading over your notes and research.
  • Having someone else read your manuscript and report back can also help.
  • Maybe it’s not as mind-blowingly vile as you think.
  • Maybe it is, and you have to rewrite/revise.
  • F&L is why god created beta readers, crit groups, and editors.
  • Patience, perspective, persistence, and, if necessary, a pair of outside eyes are called for.

5) Dream big, dreamer 

Dreams, even big dreams are OK and, for many, come with the territory.

They can motivate but if they lead to paralysis, you will need to ask yourself why you are allowing a dream to interfere with the necessary real-life work required to make the dream come true. Only you will be able to answer that question but unless you can look at yourself with an unflinching eye, no dream can come true.

6) Perfection 

Doesn’t exist. Everyone knows it. So why do some writers torment themselves trying to achieve something no one—not Einstein, not Picasso, not Shakespeare—ever achieved?

If you are in that group or even if you have tendencies in that direction, try a dose of reality.

Go to the Amazon page of any famous writer and check out the one-star reviews. They’re guaranteed to be there even for famous and successful writers.
  • John Grisham, The Racketeer: “this book stinks”
  • Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch: “a meandering mess”
  • Stephen King, Doctor Sleep: “one-dimensional, amateurish”

Need I go on?

So you still think you’re going to write the perfect book? ;-)

Bottom line: more times you rescue yourself from perfectionism, procrastination, a block, unrealistic dreams, the more you will become a professional, dragon-slaying writer and the closer you will be to where you want to go. 

We want to thank all our fantastic readers who have made this blog such a success in 2013, and we wish for you all to achieve your writing goals in 2014! 

We'd love to hear in the comments about your goals for next year, and what dragons you need to slay. 

Book of the Week

On SALE for the Holidays!
CHANEL and GATSBY: A Comic two-fer. Only $2.99!
Hollywood and Manhattan: it's Bi-Coastal Comedy!

Available at
 NOOKKobo, and Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA

The Chanel Caper


Blake Weston is a smart, savvy, no BS, 56-year-old Nora Ephron-like New Yorker. Her DH, Ralph Marino, is a très James Bond ex-cop & head of security for a large international corporation. At a tense time in their relationship, Blake & Ralph are forced to work together to solve a murder in Shanghai & break up an international piracy ring.

A totally fabulous, LMAO adventure with some of the best one-liners I've ever read!!! Ruth's wit is just a hoot, and her characters have the best sassy mouths in the biz!!!...bestselling author D.D. Scott

The Gatsby Game


When Nicky Conway meets Fitzgerald-quoting Alistair at a Princeton mixer, she falls for his retro, Jazz-Age charm. But she discovers he’s a con man obsessed with his own “Daisy”—British actress Delia Kent. After Alistair manipulates Nicky into nannying for Delia’s daughter on the set of a Hollywood film, Delia finds Alistair dead in her motel room. Local police can’t decide if it’s accident, suicide—or murder, in which case, Nicky is the prime suspect.

"For anyone who likes their books to be witty, with great characters, an atmosphere which it is a delight to experience, and a fast moving plot, this book is one you definitely shouldn't miss." ...Gerry McCullough of Gerry's Books

Opportunity Alerts

FREE HOUSES FOR WRITERS.  Yes, you read that right. With its "Write A House" project, the city of Detroit is giving away houses to writers. If you're a promising writer, AND a responsible homeowner (who's handy with tools) and want to be a proud member of the Motor City intelligentia, check out their website for details. Applicants will be asked to submit a writing sample, a resume, and a brief description of why they think they should receive the Write-a-House award. Applications taken starting in Spring 2014.

Screenwriters!! 16th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition. Over $50,000 in cash and software prizes. Every script entered is read by either a producer, manager or agent. Scriptapalooza will promote, pitch and push the semifinalists and higher for an entire year. They have relationships with producers, managers and agents that are actively looking for material. Only $45 to enter if you get it in by the early bird deadline January 6th.

Dog Lovers! Here's one for you: AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB FICTION WRITING CONTEST NO ENTRY FEE. Submit one short story, maximum 2,000 words. Entries can be on any subject, but must feature a dog. (But it can't talk) Prizes $500, $240, $100. Deadline January 31.

CRAZYHORSE PRIZES IN FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY $20 fee (includes subscription). This is a biggie, well worth the fee. This venerable literary magazine has published the likes of John Updike, Raymond Carver and Billy Collins. Winners in each category receive $2,000 and publication. Submit up to 25 pages of prose or three poems. All entries considered for publication. Submissions accepted in the month of January only.

2014 BETHLEHEM WRITERS ROUNDTABLE SHORT STORY AWARD $10 ENTRY FEE. Submit 2,000 words or fewer on the theme of "Food Stories". In addition to a $200 prize, the first place winner's story will be considered for print publication in the Bethlehem Writers Group's next anthology or as a featured story in Bethlehem Writers Roundtable. Their last anthology won Indie Book Awards for Best Anthology and Best Short Fiction. Second place will receive $100 + publication in the BWG Writers Roundtable. Deadline January 15th.

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Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

Oh, the fear and loathing. I am an expert.

Thanks for making this list, Ruth. I shall refer back to it forever.

Now, I need to get off Twitter and get editing.

December 29, 2013 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Perfectionist here - I admit it!
Now, why haven't the Amazon drones delivered my order yet?
(Very funny post, Ruth!)

December 29, 2013 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Vera Soroka said...

I'm a procrastinator. I have no problem writing but since I decided to be an Indie writer I've put road blocks up to getting my feet wet and start publishing. I promised myself I would finally do it this year and start publishing. I will, I promise.

December 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Anne—An expert? In F&L? Aaaaargh.

Alex—That drone you've been waiting for is probably working for UPS or FedEx, that's why. lol

Vera—OK, so far we have one F&L expert. One perfectionist and one procrastinator. Geez, guys, slay those dragons & get on with it!

December 29, 2013 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Lori Parker BookwormPOV said...

As much as I enjoy sharing your Sunday posts with my followers, this one seemed to be written just for me. The lists need to go on a poster in my office and anywhere I waste time. Thank you for this writer's kick-in-the-butt. It's going in my favorite's menu for routine reference, now that I've tweeted, shared, and plus-oned it.

December 29, 2013 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Terri Rochenski said...

I've always loved Nora Roberts, but now she is officially my hero! I think it's time I got my own 'do not disturb' sign. The hubs will LOVE that!

Thanks for the excellent post!

December 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

I'm the dragon! I'm the dragon! LOVED this post. Thanks so much for the fun and reality. Happy new year, Ruth and Anne!

December 29, 2013 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Lori—"Thank you for this writer's kick-in-the-butt." You're welcome, Lori. Anne and I are here to serve. Now get back to work! ;-)

Terri—Nora nailed it, didn't she? "Blood and fire," period. Woman knows how to get it done! The rest of us can only hope to emulate her.

Julie—Thanks! You've ID'd the point of the whole post: Because you are the dragon, you can STOP being the dragon. It's a question of who's the boss. Your productive, creative writer self? Or your destructive, self-defeating dragon self?

It's your—and I mean by that our—choice. It's up to us to choose wisely.

December 29, 2013 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Phyllis Humphrey said...

So true. Thanks for the reminder. Self-imposed deadlines help me. Also promising myself a reward if I'm a good (writing) girl today.

December 29, 2013 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I truly appreciated this post!(which I found when I was...well, procrastinating) lol

I will bookmark this and return to it when I need a little reminder that I (sometimes) am my own worst enemy.

Now, off to slay the dragon. Or, at least get it tamed a little.

December 29, 2013 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

What a great new year's blog! Perfect timing, Ruth. I have been in deadline hell, and am just now finished two novels - off to publishers. And...the dragon of the next project now faces me. I shall refer back to this often.
Thanks for the wonderful blogsite!

December 29, 2013 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Phyllis—Thank you for showing us the way. We each need to find our personal dragon-slaying techniques. For you (and for lots of other writers, I bet), self-imposed deadlines and rewards do the trick. Others will be able to take a cue from you!

Barbara—lol and thanks. Just goes to prove that procrastination isn't always a total waste. ;-)

Melodie—TWO books finished! Congratulations! You're living proof that dragons can indeed be slain. The one coming up better watch out!

December 29, 2013 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Sussan Tuttle said...

Great Post, Ruth. I saw myself everywhere, especially in the "procrastination" corner. I mean, I have over 50 books waiting on my Kindle app...not to mention those on my iPad...who can write with so many books to read... and learn from... and study... and...

As for goals, funny, I just did mine and sent them to all my friends/relatives/acquaintances/enemies just so I could not - gasp! - procrastinate. So, here goes:
1. Get Proof of Identity, Piece By Piece and Sins of the Past out in both print and Kindle (they're just waiting for covers); get Tangled Webs out as ebook
2. Ger the rest of the Write It Right Volumes out, print and Kindle
3. Finish final edit on Matter of Identity and get it out
4. Finish recording the album of spiritual songs I've written and get it produced. (I'm 1/4 of the way through)
5.Finish first of the YA Quadrilogy and first of paranormal detective series
6. Finish rewrite of scifi/fantasy novel, Stealing Shyon
7. Submit spiritual Journey series to a publisher
8. Become a presenter at a writing conference somewhere
9. Travel more to see friends in CA, OR and WA
10. Visit family in buffalo, NY more often

Not that I have a busy year planned or anything... LOL

December 29, 2013 at 4:18 PM  
OpenID joanneguidoccio.com said...

Thanks for the timely post, Ruth. Resolution for 2014--Slay my perfection dragon. Best wishes for the new year :)

December 29, 2013 at 5:48 PM  
Blogger Lynne Cantwell said...

Hey, I'm not procrastinating -- I'm multitasking! (she said, while simultaneously knitting and reading this post....)

Great post, by the way. I'm going to go write now. :)

December 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Rosi said...

This is a fantastic post, one I need to revisit often. I particularly loved the Stephen Sondheim suggestion and will be using that. It should work particularly well for poetry. I will be posting this link on my blog. Thanks!

December 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Cathryn Cade said...

Possibly your best post ever! Certainly the most inspirational. How DID you know this was just what I needed to hear?

Lately I feel as if I'm trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory...puzzling behaviors abound.

Thanks for booting this writer back on track!

December 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger Debby Gies said...

Great post and words of wisdom. Happy New Year Anne and Ruth, thanks for sharing your wonderful insights through the year and look forward to more in the coming year.

December 29, 2013 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Tracy Campbell said...

Ruth, thank you so much for this post. I needed this. I fall under under the F & L and the perfectionist categories. Time to make some serious changes. :-)
Happy New Year!

December 29, 2013 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger B Lee Draper said...

Fabulous post - from one dragon to another. Just what I need to kick me into a productive new year. Cheers.

December 29, 2013 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger agirlnamednat said...

Thank you for pointing out all of us suffer from the F&L dragon. I think if a medical doctor tracked my moods while I wrote my novel, he'd institutionalize me (and that's before he checked my google searches as part of my research). I needed to hear the encouragement right now and this provided it, so thank you!

December 29, 2013 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Marie Ann Bailey said...

I've always been partial to the Procrastination Dragon. We've had a long, mutually beneficial relationship: I procrastinate and he doesn't kill me.

December 30, 2013 at 4:46 AM  
OpenID tracikenworth said...

Procrastination Dragon meet your slayer!! For too long I've let this dragon shoot flames over my head, time to pick up the sword and charge!!

December 30, 2013 at 4:54 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Sussan—Thanks so much for sharing your goals with us. How can writing a list as impressive as that one not serve as powerful, get-it-done motivation? Super smart slaying method right there!

Joanne—Perfection dragons are like cement boots. Will really slow you down and drag you down. Good luck with your resolution and very best new year's wishes!

Lynne—lol "Procrastinating equals multitasking" belongs in the thesaurus. I assume you're working on having it included???? ;-)

Rosi—Thank you for the kind words. I was struck by the Sondheim suggestion, too, as it seems a simple, excellent way to open the gates to new connections and associations. As you say, would also work well for poetry.

Cathryn—Thanks so much! You're so right about puzzling behaviors. What's the matter with us? Why do we sometimes work against our own best interests? Calling Dr. Freud, I guess, but I wonder if even he could figure us out? Very, very mysterious!

Debby—Thank you and to you, too, the happiest of new years!

Tracy—F&L and perfectionist? Oy. Not that you're alone! lol Sad to say, these are VERY persistent dragons and need to be shot down over and over. Très annoying!

Lee—Thanks! I didn't intend to kick you (or anyone) into a new year. Just wanted to provide a gentle but firm nudge.

agirlnamednat—OMG, I know exactly what you mean about Google searches! When Michael and I are writing thrillers it gets particularly weird: nuclear detonations, sexual perversities that would have Kraft-Ebing spinning in his grave, medical malfeasance in the White House, terror attacks, kidnapping and hijackings…aaaaargh, stop me before I Google more!

December 30, 2013 at 5:15 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 30, 2013 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Trekelny said...

Ruth, great post and perfect to wrap up the year! I did the same, I mean actually the opposite, on my blog last night. Coincidence? Maybe if you loaned me half your brains I could claim that great minds think alike.

Put me down for a triple-helping of Procrastination, lightly garnished with What Happens Next. The others either don't exist for me or I accept them and function easily anyway. But I will claim, as I did in my post, that there's such a thing as productive procrastination. I tend to think (watch my world) a LONG time, and then out comes fairly polished stuff. I can afford to take the long view- the good die young!

December 30, 2013 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Marie Ann—LOL!

tracikenworth—That's the right approach! Go gettim! (and make him suffer in the process!) :-)

Trekelny—A triple helping? Wowza!

What you call "productive procrastination" is what I call thinking. :-)

Whether it's research, figuring out what a scene/character/incident needs, plotting or re-plotting, making notes, this invisible, mental work is a necessary part of the process. Just because a writer isn't at the keyboard doesn't mean s/he isn't working.
As we all know too well!

December 30, 2013 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger Julie Valerie said...

I read this post on Sunday and kept meaning to leave a comment but something kept getting in the way (procrastination). And then the phone kept ringing, the kids needed supper . . . (interruptions). And then, once I sat down to write this comment, I froze. I thought, what should I do next? What should I type in Ruth's comment section? (What Happens Next? Syndrome.) Finally, I thought: I stink. I can't even think of something to write in a comment section of a blog post. Think I'll sit in the corner and punch myself in the face a few times. (Fear and loathing.) But then, I told myself: No. No, I won't sit and wallow. Because I'm a great writer of comments. I write the BEST comments on the Internet! (I like to dream big.) So I sat down, and wrote this comment, and I checked and rechecked for typos and spelling errors (perfection dragon).

Because, well, I'm a writer, and that's what we do.

Even in the comment section of blog posts.

December 30, 2013 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ruth--You sure hit it out of the park with this one! I think every single writer has to battle these dragons from time to time.

Great comments, too!

Julie Valerie, if we gave prizes for comments, yours would definitely get one! LOL.

December 30, 2013 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Claude Nougat said...

Love the post, love the comments, and spent time riding my (usual procrastination)dragon as I read them with...pleasure, LOL!

All the best to everyone, Happy New Year!

December 30, 2013 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Julie—LMAO What an absolute gem! Thank you, thank you!

Anne—Thank you. Much appreciated! :-)

Claude—Thanks soooo much! The very best of New Years to you & to all our fabulous commenters!

December 30, 2013 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

Ruth, this is just a wonderful post. I love the info on Sondheim. I watched the doc on HBO just the other night and so much of what he said applies to ALL writers. Also when stuck going back to the outline or if on a second or third draft, reviewing an earlier draft where the emotions grabbed you enough to start the damn thing in the first place.. Always love when you chime in. Thank you for another great post.

December 30, 2013 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger mooderino said...

Excellent post. I'm guilty of pretty much everything on your list. Thanks for offering some solutions.

Moody Writing

December 30, 2013 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Paul—Thanks. I saw the Sondheim doc too. Good writer & intelligent, likable man who survived a vicious mother. Her cruelty was just astonishing.

Thanks for your excellent suggestion…going back is a reliable problem-solver for me, too. As we go along, each writer will figure out what works for him/her.

mooderino—thanks! You're not guilty. You're just a writer like the rest of us. lol

December 30, 2013 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Christine Ahern said...

I needed to learn how to claim; this is my space, this is my time. My grandchildren have recently moved close so my writing room has been turned into a Lego and napping room. So, I have turned my Airsteam, parked in my yard, used as a guest room, as my writing space. It's perfect. Away enough, private enough and very clearly "my space" when I am out there.

December 30, 2013 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Lexa Cain said...

I think most writers have suffered from everything on your list at one time or another - and if they haven't they're not real writers! lol

Have a peaceful and safe New Year! :-)

December 30, 2013 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Alison Pensy said...

What a great post and great timing for me :-). I don't comment very often but read your blog every week. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for writing such informative and helpful posts, and to wish you both a very happy new year.

December 30, 2013 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Alison Pensy said...

What a great post and great timing for me :-). I don't comment very often but read your blog every week. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for writing such informative and helpful posts, and to wish you both a very happy new year.

December 30, 2013 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Ahoy Anne & Ruth,
Wow - after all those comprehensive comments, what could I possibly add? Great post. Thanks for being there, & I love the "Write-a-House" concept.

December 30, 2013 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger John Wiswell said...

Lovely post! #3, the hero-in-the-tree, is usually a blast for me to resolve once I get over the emotional hump. It can typically be resolved by asking, "What is the worst thing that can happen to the hero right now?" or "What is the funniest thing that could happen right now?"

December 30, 2013 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Christine—Your Airstream sounds super chic! What a great way to get away—and to make your point.

Lexa—LOL sooooo true! Real Writers Unite!

Alison—Thanks for reading and thanks for taking the time to comment. Anne and I love to hear from our fab readers!

CS—Thanks for chiming in and for your kind words. Much appreciated!

John—Thank you. What a brilliant solution: the worst or the funniest? Will help many including moi!

December 31, 2013 at 4:36 AM  
Blogger Frank Lilly said...

Great post, and hit home on many of the points. Looking forward to 2014 and finally getting some writing done.

December 31, 2013 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger Judith Mercado said...

Gosh, I needed to hear this, especially the Perfection one, after discovering a major typo in my recently published book of poetry. My stomach sank to my knees, until I then found several errors in a multimillion bestseller Carlos Ruiz Zafon book I was reading. My stomach is now limited to churning every now and then; I hope, not about perfection.

December 31, 2013 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Frank—Thank you & good luck with getting your writing accomplished!

Judith—Typos happen! They're fixable!

Hope your stomach settles down in time for the new year!

December 31, 2013 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I experienced the last one years ago when I'd first started writing and soon traded it in for number 1 and number 3. Number 3 was so bad that it eventually led me some 7 years later commenting on your lovely blog.

My goal for next year, besides self-pubbing a novella (lack of money. not for publishing, but for two good quality covers), is finish the monster rewrite on THE NOVELLA that caused the domino effect that has me commenting on your lovely blog and so far has allowed to get one novel, as well as two short stories, published in the traditional way.

December 31, 2013 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

GB--Even though this is Ruth's post, I had to chime in. Congrats on your successes! I'm so glad to hear our blog has helped. We always appreciate your comments.

I also want to let you know that we've got a successful novella writer, Paul Alan Fahey, posting for us in February, writing about the newly popular genre and how approaching the novella is different from the novel.

December 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Rahul Kesharwani said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 31, 2013 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

GB—Congratulations on your impressive achievements! Writing is difficult and to have to slay dragons, too, makes a tough job even tougher.

Anne and I appreciate your comment. We are always tremendously pleased to hear that our blog has helped others achieve their goals.

January 1, 2014 at 4:45 AM  
Blogger Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You made me laugh all the while I was agreeing with you. Some days the dragon wins but I'm getting better at slaying.

January 1, 2014 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Susan—Now, if you can only laugh while
slaying! Meanwhile, congratulations on your steady improvement in the DS department!

January 1, 2014 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

Anne, looking forward to that post as writing a novella has always been my preferred length of choice for writing.

And your very welcome for the compliments.

January 1, 2014 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Joe Kovacs said...

Yikes, and I thought I was the only one who delayed writing by making coffee. Of course, I don't have to stand by the coffee maker while it's brewing, but I do! Thanks for this in-depth and insightful view of areas that cause procrastination in writing and how to overcome each. You've nudged me toward just enough guilt that hopefully I'll be more productive in the near future by a) not hanging out by the coffee maker, and b) by shutting down the internet while I'm writing. Happy new year, Anne! Joe

January 1, 2014 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Joe—Thanks and lol. Don't be so hard on yourself. After all, some break through ideas have come while standing watch over coffee makers. Tea pots, ditto!

January 2, 2014 at 5:49 AM  
Blogger Jen Black said...

I've done every one of your procrastination dragons - all in today! I guess there's no hope for me!

January 3, 2014 at 6:56 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Jen—Every one? Today? Wow! Impressive! lol

January 3, 2014 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Aubrey Williams said...

Very effective. A lot of writers need this kind of "Tough Love". I completely agree with this! Good job!

January 5, 2014 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Aubrey—Thanks so much for the kind words. Sometimes a bracing jolt of reality helps! At least I hope so. :-)

January 5, 2014 at 8:27 AM  

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