Ask the Author: Shelia Firedly — Do you ever get “writer’s block,” if so, what do you do?
Aaron: This is a complicated question, and the answer is rather lengthy. So, I’ll try to be brief. I handle writer’s block in two ways: 1. I push through it. I write even when I’m not inspired. Usually I’ll find something good eventually. Sometimes, if I’m just too tired to think, I’ll take a short break from my writing–maybe watch a movie, kill time on YouTube, play some Magic, something to get my mind off it. But I never do it for long. I’m a firm believer that the best way to handle writer’s block is to push through it as much as possible.
AL: All creatives experience some kind of block now and again. It’s part of being creative. So yes, I occasionally have times when I feel adrift. Sometimes I step away for a bit, but not long, but most of the time I just keep writing. If I can’t write the next scene, I skip to one that’s already clear in my head. Blocks often come from the paralysis of analysis (Al’s Axiom #21: Fear the paralysis of analysis–Tolkien/CS Lewis)–spend too much brain power in the first draft trying to make things perfect. Just make a note like, “Put something here that shows Mary’s confusion,” or similar. You brain will work on that problem at the same time you’re writing something else. The difference between wannabe writers and writers is persistence.
MJ: Yes. Often. Like Aaron and Al, I try to push through it. Most of the time, I will shift my work. I’ll either read earlier chapters to remind myself where I want the story to go, or maybe try to write the same scene from a different character’s perspective. If I really can’t seem to write, I’ll either clean house or cook, or both. I try to give myself distance from the project at least once a week and go to friends’ houses to play Magic, catch a movie, grab a coffee. Anything that takes me away from feeling trapped but still helps me connect with my creative muse. If it’s at night and I’m tired, I’ll go to bed and talk out loud to my characters, ask them what they think they’re doing. It sounds “crazy” but I’ve woken up with some amazing scenes that I was previously stuck on.
FIRSTS IN FICTION
THE BIZ: AGENTS
GUEST: Dr. Chip MacGregor, literary agent.
Al: Meet Chip MacGregor.
Joining us today is a man I greatly admire. Dr. Chip MacGregor, founder of MacGregor Literary agency. His agency has represented authors whose work has appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list and other “bestseller lists,” been winners and finalists of Christy Awards, Gold Medallion Awards, Romantic Times, Reader’s Choice, Rita Awards and received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly.
Chip earned a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors from Portland State University, an MA with Honors from Biola University, a PhD in Policy and Management from University of Oregon. He also did post-doc work at Oxford.
Chip not only represents writers he is a writer with several books to his credit including Step by Step Pitches and Proposals and How Can I Find a Literary Agent?
Chip also served as publisher for Warner Book Group.
I am proud to say that Chip is my agent.
- Next week: The Biz: Changing World of Publishing
- Don’t forget to ask the author.
- Find us at altongansky.com, franklymydearmojo.com, and aarongansky.com and heatherluby.com
- Chip’s site: www.macgregorliterary.com