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I don’t blog about my writing very often, mainly because I don’t feel that I have anything helpful to contribute to the blogosphere on the subject. Part of the reason for that is I’ve been stuck in Work In Progress limbo for quite some time and it’s a kind of hell all its own. I end up in this space from time to time–multiple WIPs in the pipeline with no clear ending in sight for any of them. It’s during these stages when blogs on writing usually bring me down. I mean, all of these authors who seem to crank out work after work all blog with authority about just how I, too, can improve my output if I only do something specific like outline better, have a notebook that details everything about my characters before I set down the first word, write linearly, set aside a specific time every day (despite my day job and my motherhood responsibilities) to write, and basically become a totally different person/writer.

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Let’s add a layer of blue over this whole story, why don’t we?

The fact is, I’m the writer that I am. I can outline, make index cards, create Pinterest inspiration boards, do character-building exercises out the wazoo (and I will) but I think that I’m always going to find that I write in layers, more like an oil painter, and not in any type of linear fashion. I need to find a way to be okay with that. For example, I’m on the ninth draft of one of my WIPs and on this pass-through I saw gaps I’d never noticed before, easy places that I could drop in a paragraph, or change a conversation in order to strengthen the character’s motivations or the emotional impact for the reader. I suppose other writers see those places and write them in from the beginning, but that is apparently not how I work. Again, I need to be okay with that.

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Be okay with being a tattooed skeleton wearing a flower crown, okay?

Awhile back, CB Wentworth made a post listing all that she loved about her current WIP. She said:

The practice is meant to revitalize creativity for the project, while also helping to keep the focus on what is working in the story. Essentially, the Love List is a collection of everything a writer loves about a WIP, whether it be characters, setting, the writing process, or anything that gives a reason to keep writing!  This is the ultimate individual motivator that will give your muse a supreme kick in the butt!

In an effort to appreciate the writer that I am and not beat myself up about the writer I wish I could be, let’s do this!

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Things I Love About My WIP

1. Our Pinterest Inspiration Board! So many great and inspirational pictures!

2. The fairy tale world we’ve created. It is beautiful and hopefully readers will find it as imaginatively engaging as we have writing it.

3. Despite their initial reluctance to be forthcoming with me, I’m loving the characters. They’ve been slow to open up, necessitating more reworkings than almost anything I’ve ever written, but now that they’ve deigned to give me a better idea of who they are, I’m growing to love them a lot.

4. I love the ending. I admit to wondering if the end will be satisfactory to some because it leaves the HEA for the epilogue, but I think that it will be a nice change of pace and, most importantly, works for these characters.

5. I love some of the character building exercises that I’ve found while trying to needle these characters into talking to me. I believe they will come in handy in the future.

6. I love how hard this work has been. Even though in some ways I wish it was easy, I do feel a great deal of satisfaction whenI locate a problem in the story and then find a way to fix it. It’s like that wonderful snap of a puzzle piece fitting into place, and the general satisfaction that comes from that.

7. I’ve enjoyed how hard I’ve had to think. Usually, characters are very open with me, but there were many scenes in this WIP where I had to sit for a long time with the characters and say, “Okay, I’m listening. Tell me how this event made you feel. What are you going to say here?” It was a slow thing, but it definitely took me through some of the paces that I often manage to skip simply by having outspoken/loud characters to begin with.

8. I look forward to having it done. When it’s behind me, I think I’ll look on it with a lot of love and fondness.

What about you all? Are there any things you love particularly about your current Work In Progress? Let me know in the comments!

9 thoughts on “I <3 My WIP (Though It Kicks My Ass)

    1. This is very true to a degree, but when you write yourself into a corner, sometimes a plan to get out is helpful. 😉 Though strong, loud-mouthed characters are a plus and make things easier. I actually did find my way out of my block due to a writing exercise I found online about figuring out the 5 things your character DOESN’T want to have happen. I was lacking tension in the crisis, and that helped me figure out how to amp it up. But, yeah, in general, writing happens by writing, and as Neil Gaiman added to that wisdom, by finishing what you start.

  1. I love you Love List. I hope it helps you focus on the important aspects of your WIP so you can finish it and refine it.

    Like you I have so many unfinished pieces. I get so gung-ho about them when I start, but begin to lose focus when the next Big Thing comes along. Good luck with all of yours. 🙂

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I feel like it did help. So did taking a week off from it. I’m feeling very positive about getting back to it tomorrow morning during my writing time. 🙂 I hope you find some oomph to finish some of your projects some day, too!

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