old dog - 1

What do you do on a day when you stare at a blank page? Is an empty file a road block or an opportunity to you?

For me when I hit one of those walls where all my energy and creativeness seems to have run out, there is usually a reason. Sometimes it’s the rejection from publishers, critical feedback, could be something personal or physical that seems to put a damper on wanting to do the work. It is very hard to separate our writing from our personal lives. We’ve all been there. So what do we do at those times?

Rejection on many levels is just part of life, no matter what you do. Teenagers reject their parents at some point, bosses reject ideas sometimes, publishers reject your proposals, employers reject your application, you name it, it happens. If you’ve always written westerns and then want to write some other genre might mean a new fan base. I ran into that when after writing several well received local history fiction books, then wrote a series of science fiction books.

There are very successful writers who only write one thing after they find their audience, i.e. Tom Clancy who wrote thrillers like Hunt for Red October and a few others who write thrillers, political or crime or one type of work. Gotta say they make big $$$+ doing that, pretty good motivation to do what works.

For me I need a push from myself, from a time when I was in a better working place. When I’m running at high energy I usually have more ideas than I can handle so over the years I’ve started a file I call simply “ideas for stories.” When I’m not very up I dig something out of that file and just start to write. Often it will help me out of the slump and when I’m really involved with the writing I find my energy and creativity coming back.

There’s a radio station near my home that plays classic pop music and as I was driving between towns they were playing Ricky Nelson’s Garden Party. The story behind that was he went to a rock and roll concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971. He didn’t look like the clean-cut kid he had been when he first started making hit records. When he tried to sing some more hard edge rock and roll music he was nearly booed off the stage. There is a part of a line in that song that goes “- I’ve learned my lesson well. You see, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.” He certainly got that one right.

Here’s the bottom line though, if you write what makes you happy or accomplishes your goals-go for it.


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