Monday, October 22, 2012

Jennifer Ashley: Creativity and Writer's Panic


I've been thinking a lot about creativity lately, especially as it relates to book writing. I'm a fairly prolific writer, but there are days (not a few), when I sit down in front of the computer, stare at the blank screen, and say "I got nothin'."

It's happened after I've given my publisher a proposal for a book, the contract is signed. I sit down to start the book and say, "What was I thinking?"

How do I get out of this and make it to a publishable book? It ain't easy. Here are some of my methods:

1. I throw away my notes. If the original concept is all wrong, I'm not afraid to chuck it out and start over. (I keep to what I agreed to in the contract--e.g., a hot paranormal romance--but the details might completely change.)

2. I let the characters inspire me. I explore every facet of the characters, set them on their feet, and give them a push. I watch what they do and write it down.

3. I let excellent books, movies, and music inspire me. I might find a single sentence or a piece of throwaway dialog, or something in the setting that makes me grab onto it and say "What if, instead... we did this...?"

4. I rewrite and revise extensively. This is the "bloody hard work" part. My story grows and changes as it takes life (especially if I started with nothing). I go back through it and make it consistent and coherent, and take out all the junk that doesn't need to be there, especially at the beginning.

These methods work for me, if they're not the most comfortable and low-stress way to write books. But I've started books with "I got nothin' " that ended up with them selling well and winning multiple awards.

That's my solution to writer's panic. What do you think of it, and writers, what do you do?

I’ll be giving away a copy of my latest book, Mate Claimed, which happily wasn’t written in as much of a panic. It’s a paranormal romance that made two of the New York Times bestseller’s lists and the USA Today top 50!

Leave a comment either on my topic, or simply say hi, to win!

Best,
Jennifer Ashley
http://www.jennifersromances.com

***Jennifer's winner is Juanita Decuir!  Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing info!***

28 comments:

  1. I agree with your methods, it's easier and less stressful for someone to just let everything loose and do the things that you're very comfortable at, getting yourself in an anxious mode won't help your cause. Music and movies or even a simple painting can really inspire writers, that's why they (you) have a very rich imagination.

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  2. I'm not a writer and now I know why.
    Writing is such hard work (harder than many people think it is) and it takes questioning yourself and what you've already written to make a good book. I can imagine it creates a lot of stress.
    Your methods to cope with that stress sound like a very good solution.

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  3. Haii Jennifer, wow your method is not easy to do it, but I admire your hard work.. Keep writing and keep fighting! Hë‘hë‘hë‘hë‘ hë‘hë
    Thanks you for the giveaway

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  4. Learned a lot with your methods here. I've chuck out some ideas I shouldn't have - if I'd just stuck with it (and tossed the notes). Thanks!

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  5. Thank you for sharing that. It's nice to see how my favorite writers think.
    I'm a huge fan, have been ever since that first book in this series. Can't wait to read this book.

    miztik_rose@yahoo.com

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  6. When stressed out:
    Step 1: Back away from the story
    Step 2: Put a notepad and pencil near you, don't focus on it though just relax and focus on the coffee/herbal tea.If you get an idea while relaxing just jot it down
    Step 3:: Get you a good cup of coffee or herbal tea
    Step 4: Breathe and relax

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  7. I don't have the talent or imagination for writing (I wish I could write reviews better), but I do have a talent for reading. ;-)

    Just from reading what other authors and you have said it seems so hard, but all of you are very good at it. Hard work and perseverance does pay off.

    I love this series and I hope there will be more books to it.

    Deb
    mammy4423@yahoo.com

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  8. great methods, Jennifer :)

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  9. WOW!! You have all the hard work and we have all the enjoyment!! Thank you!!

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  10. good morning, so happy to enter this giveaway, blessings to you my friend!

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  11. Wow, that's a lot of work! Being a writer is yet another thing on the long list of jobs I'm not suited for, but I thank god that you are, because I LOVE your books!!

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  12. I think that your method sounds perfectly reasonable. I am a reader but when I used to have to write essays and was stuck, I tended to need to just start writing whatever came to mind and suddenly I would find a direction.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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  13. Whoa, not a writer, but that sounds like good advice, Jennifer! Thanks for giving us a peek at how you work! And it truly IS work--thanks for doing that so we have the pleasure of enjoying your writing!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

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  14. Great advice. And I loved Mate Claimed. I won an ARC of it before it came out and may I just say, I love me some shifters!

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  15. I love your books :)

    stacey (dot) marin (at) laverne (dot) edu

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  16. Hi Jennifer! Great post! I love your Shifters Unbound series!
    Thanks for the great giveaway!
    Ashley A
    ash_app@hotmail.com

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  17. Thanks for sharing your methods for handling
    "writer's panic." I'm not a writer but these
    ideas can be of use in other areas as well.

    Pat C.

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  18. I love that you are so willing to just toss the details, stick with the basic promise and soldier on.

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  19. I have to say I think you know what your doing because I LOVE YOUR BOOKS. keep up the good work.
    Lorimeehan 1 @ aol.com

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  20. I'm not a writer, but I think I would have a hard time tossing out my original plan and starting from just the basics. You are far braver than I.

    Jyl22075 at gmail.com

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  21. Thanks for the great post and congrats on the new release! I love your Storm Walker series and I can't believe I've missed this one! Gotta go get caught up! I'm not a writer and never will be :), so I give you mad props for even having the ability to sit down and create a story. I couldn't even imagine facing writer's block!

    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  22. Hi

    I love this series and I am looking forward to reading this book.

    Great post, I love to see how authors make a wonderful story.

    Thanks for the chance
    Pam
    tpibrew@msn.com

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  23. Your methods sound like they work, so I'm all for it. I too find it's easier to just start over sometimes when a project doesn't seem to be going the way I want it to. Starting again sometimes works out in ways you never imagined.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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  24. Since I'm not a writer, I'll just say hello!! Thanks for the great stories.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  25. Writing a book sounds exhausting,. Reading on the other hand...

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  26. I think that as long as it works for you, keep it up. You must be doing something right since your books are so awesome. ;)

    vadeluna07(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  27. I'd say if it works for you, keep doing it.I'd also say that since I think your books are awesome it works. :)Great post.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  28. Hi =D .... love your books and can't wait for more to come out xoxo

    joannamoreno1 at Hotmail dot com

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