Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stay in the Story

by Maria Geraci

About 15 months ago, I began writing my latest wip (work-in-progress).

I'm only about 3/4's done with the story. A novel that should have taken me about 6 months to write.

So why haven't I finished it yet?

Yes, life got in the way. But life always gets in the way. I really have no excuse. I like this story and every time I sit down to write the words seem to flow. Sure, they flow more on some days than others, but overall, it's a good story. At least, I think it is. So, what's the deal? The deal is, I've divorced myself from the story. I've neglected it when I should have been nourishing it. It's like the little crab my son got on his eighth birthday. He put the cage in his closet (for some reason) then forgot to feed the thing. About a week later when I went to clean his room, I found it. Yeah, not a pretty sight. It taught him an early lesson. Neglect is an awful thing. I should have paid more attention.

Writing is like exercise. The more you do it, the more endorphins you release and the better you feel. But take a week off from the gym and it feels like pulling teeth to get back there again. So in the infamous words of Nike, Just do it. Write. Plant your butt in the chair and get the fingers moving. It's the only advice I know to give any writer. The more you think about and dream about your story the more you stay in the story and that's how the story gets written.

So what have I done with the novel I began in the fall of 2012?

I had to go back to page 1. Read from the beginning. Get to know the characters' all over again and what makes them tick. I've had to force myself to write at different times of the day. Best writing time for me? When I wake up in the morning and then again right before I go to sleep. Writing before bedtime helps me dream about my story. Not consciously, not all the time, but I know deep down that my subconscious is figuring it all out, hence, why writing when I wake up is so productive.

Writing for me, has got to be a passion.  All fire-breathing dragon. Like something that's alive and waiting to consume me if I don't get the words on the page. That's how I write my best stories. I'd forgotten that. I'd let dustballs and the rest of life get in the way. Not anymore. Not if I want to continue to call myself a writer. Not if I want to get this story done.

Maria Geraci writes humorous, romantic women's fiction. Her latest novel, A GIRL LIKE YOU was nominated for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. You can connect with her by checking out her website


  1. I can relate to this Maria. :-) Well put.

  2. Maria,
    I've struggled with *exactly* the same thing...and it's not my story's fault ;). You're right -- an idea takes commitment and nourishment. Reminds me of something I heard about parenting -- that, yes, quality of time is important, but so is sheer quantity of time. Sometimes the answer is just to "show up" for as long as we can. Make the habit happen. I'm looking forward to your new book, though, whenever you're finished writing it!!

  3. Last week at the Southern Magic RWA meeting, Kelly Stone came and talked to us about training our subconscious to make us better writers. Based on what she shared with us, your first thing in the morning and last thing at night writing times are PERFECT for that, because before bed, you're setting yourself up, like you said, to dream about your story, and then you're writing down everything your subconscious worked out for you in the middle of the night when you get up in the morning. GREAT method!!

    You can do it! (And I can't wait to read it!)

  4. Are you SURE you're not hanging around my house?! I need to get with the program---

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