Monday, March 22, 2010

Your Groove

This past fall, our family drove through Wyoming and visited Guernsey, where the best defined and deepest wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail exist. Here's a picture of my family standing in the ruts to give you a sense of the scope and scale of the grooves the wagons cut into the relatively soft rock. Hundreds of wagons, hundreds of humans, hundreds of stories.

This past weekend, I spent a considerable amount of time critiquing a manuscript for a friend. I'm so glad I had this project to work on, because I feel as if I've been out of my writing groove for the past couple of weeks. When I would sit down to write, I was scattered, unfocused, unmotivated. I was tired, and too many other things looked appealing to me. This made me frustrated with myself, and I felt out of sorts.
But working on these crits reminded me of how much I love writing and editing. It reminded me how rewarding hard work is. I've been lethargic about working on my WIP because I sensed that my hero was coming across as unlikeable, and because I wanted to change my antagonist and I wasn't sure just how I wanted him to act. I needed some compost time to change my antagonist from coldly calculating to desperately remorseful. Instead of a revengeful jealous bad guy, I now have an envious man who started a pebble rolling down a hill that caused an avalanche of trouble. He is desperate to cover up his actions, and that desperation and guilt drive him to do something he never thought he would. Much better than an unfeeling, truly evil person, in my mind. :)
Working on critiquing someone else's manuscript helped me get back into my groove, back into the routine, back to the ground my writing wagons have covered again and again.
So, when you get thrown off your groove, how do you get back into it?


  1. This post blessed my heart, Erica! I'm glad you are getting back in your groove again.

    What do I do to get back in my groove?

    Usually, I read a book. Or, like you, critique some stuff. Step away. Watch a romantic movie. Something fun and rejuvinating. :)

    Love you friend,

  2. I'm like Katie. I read or watch romantic movies. Something to get my fingers itching to move. :)

  3. When I feel I'm out of sorts with my work, it's best to leave it and step away. Coming back, I can look at it with fresh eyes.

  4. Glad you are back into the groove, and I love the picture of your family in the big gooves!

    I'm not sure that I do anything special when I'm out of sorts. Rarely do I recognize it in time--and that's what usually happens. A passage of time to get back to normal.

  5. For me, getting back into the groove invoves unplugging because the internet, tv and cell phones are big distractions for me.

  6. Just saw a picture of this very place in a book I was reading on Saturday as I was doing research! I find it incredibly fascinating that the wagons could have done this!!

    Anyway, to get back into my groove, I usually find a new song to listen to as I'm writing. Or I stop and listen to the lyrics of a song and that usually pumps me up.

  7. Erica, I'm in the busy, tired category right now. My editing schedule is booked through May--which I'm thankful for--but there's no time for my writing.

    What's got my juices flowing is rereading some of my all-time favorite novels. The beauty of the words and the intricacies of the plots make me want to get back to my own WIP.

  8. Reading or watching a movie usually does it for me. But most of all, I have to pray my way out of a slump!