Big Buts

From time to time every writer struggles with procrastination. The writing process can be mentally and emotionally draining. So, it’s natural for writers to get burned-out and concoct excuses to help them avoid this exhaustive endeavor. Completing our first manuscript and beginning to query agents has left us drained and has opened our minds to some very creative excuses as to why we can’t write. Below are our top ten excuses that keep us from writing.

We want to write, BUT…

10. “We’re tired.”

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh wait a minute, we were supposed to be writing our blog, but we fell asleep. Keeping vampire hours takes a toll on us. Some days were just too tired to write. The human body needs between 6-8 hours of sleep in order to function properly. When a person is starved of those precious zzzz’s, creativity significantly declines. Plus, we firmly believe writers’ characters can visit their creators in dreamland. A great story can be born from a healthy, well rested mind. Take Stephenie Meyer for instance, Edward was the man of her dreams!

9. “We’re too distracted.”

Wait, what are we doing? Oh, we’re writing a blog? Oh, yeah. Distractions: We’ve got to finish this novel, catch up on the last six episodes of The Walking Dead, research agent websites, watch YouTube, tweet random stuff, update our FB status about the delectable burritos we just devoured, post a picture of said burritos on Instagram, pin a new ensemble to our fashion board on Pinterest, knowing full well the outfit will never fit (see burrito reference above).

8. “We’re teachers.”

There are lessons to plan, emails to be sent, meetings to attend, papers to grade, papers to grade, papers to grade…. Nuff said.

7. “We’re moms”

There are dinners to be cooked, baths to be drawn, books to be read, homework to be finished, laundry to be washed, arguments to be refereed, and time-outs to be rewarded.

6. “We’re allergic.”

Writing makes us itch. Seriously, it really makes us itch. Then we have to take Benadryl and it makes us sleepy (see reference number 10).

5. “We’re too fat.”

Devouring delectable burritos is satisfying, but that means we need to spend our time working them off at the gym because we really want that outfit we pinned on Pinterest. Maybe we’ll run, or go to Hot Yoga, or do the Brazilian Butt Lift, or…maybe we’ll just take a nap.

4. “The writing ritual was not completed in the appropriate order or allotted amount of time, and therefore we cannot begin writing tonight.”

The writing ceremony is sacred; the rites must be performed meticulously or the muse will not bless us with its presence. This sacred ritual must consist of the following: Copious amounts of frothy, unsweetened iced green tea, which must be followed by espresso. Lissa must be on the left side of the bed and Cori must be on the right. Laptops and iPads must be fully charged AND plugged into a power source. Wifi must be working at full strength in order to access the beloved dictionary/thesaurus.com AND IF ANY OF THESE DEMANDS ARE NOT MET, WE WILL NOT WRITE.

3. “The stars aren’t aligned.”

In addition to the completion of the writing ritual, the stars must align so that our muse may speak to us, revealing the secrets of our characters.

2. “We have ISS.”

A.K.A. “I Suck Syndrome”–We thank our author friend, Cole Gibsen, for diagnosing our problem! Please visit her blog, Hair Dye & Samurai, for more information on ISS.

1. “We have BICitus.”

Our butts hurt. We would love to say this is a result of our tireless exercise regimen, but we all know it’s really a result of sitting in front of a blank computer screen for hours on end praying that the words will magically flow onto the page.

Yes, these excuses are absurd, BUT…they were all very convincing at one time or another. Thankfully, we can see them for what they are and not let them stifle our creativity. What makes us good writers is that we persevere, writing through our valleys and cheeks…oops we meant peaks!

 

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Music to Our Eyes

Music is one of the greatest emotional triggers; it can stimulate potent feelings, conjure vivid images, and evoke powerful memories. From birthday parties, to weddings, to funerals, music is a pivotal part of the monumental events in our lives. The entertainment industry has certainly capitalized on this simple fact. Soundtracks for movies have recently become just as popular as the movies themselves. Why? Because people want to relive the story over and over again and music provides that bridge.

The written word can also utilize music in the same way. Many times authors will write stories and deliberately include names of musicians or song titles into scenes of their books. Why would an author do this? Essentially it allows the reader to feel and understand what the characters are experiencing during a specific scene. This empathy helps the reader establish a much more personal relationship with the characters and keeps them alive in the reader’s mind long after the story has ended. But strangely enough, there are critics of this literary device. Sometimes people feel that using certain songs will “date” a novel and consequently make it less marketable.

Our novel, THE ONLY EXCEPTION, includes a plethora of musical references. Because music was so influential during our writing process, we felt compelled to share the inspiration behind our words.

Music took our book in directions we could never have imagined. Sometimes we would hear a song and an entire unplanned scene would play out in our minds. We soon discovered that music was the panacea for writer’s block; we could listen to a certain song and it would spirit us away to some unexpected place with our characters. Often times, a song would evoke exactly the right emotion for a specific scene. Tapping into that emotion, we were able to take our one-dimensional characters and mold them into believable, complex beings.

At times we were borderline obsessive with music. We created numerous playlists for our novel so that whenever we were away from our computers, we could still feel the emotional connection to our characters.

We are well aware of the potential risks of including the names of musical artists and song titles in our manuscript. However, we feel quite confident that our target audience will appreciate our musical references because they will provide an additional link between the fantasy world we’ve created and reality.

With music as our muse, we are excited to continue our writing journey. Who knows where the music may take us? Stay tuned to find out.

What are your thoughts about including musical references in writing? Please leave a comment expressing your opinion; we’d love to hear from you.

And some songs that inspired THE ONLY EXCEPTION: