Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reading Addiction Blog Tours Guest Blog: Rosalind James

Why I Don’t Get Writer’s Block
“What do you do about writer’s block?” I hear this question all the time. Short answer: I don’t get it! After ten years as a marketing writer, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent toiling to make alphabet letter tiles or fireplace inserts sound sexy. Writing stories about two people falling in love? Piece of cake!
The longer answer is that the techniques I developed to keep myself on track while writing about Building Your Classroom Library or Our Salon Services have continued to serve me well in writing fiction. Here they are:
1.   Take a walk. Or a run, or a bike ride, or a swim. We’re not just giant disembodied brains. Something about moving my body makes the left brain/right brain combination work. I don’t try to force my story to come to me, just let my mind wander. For the first ten minutes or so, it DOES wander. Then somehow, without any direction, it comes back to the book. Often, the scene that appears isn’t even the one I thought I was working on. I’ve learned to trust the process, and go home and write the scene that came to me. Maybe that other scene will appear next time—or maybe it wasn’t right after all.
2.   Try a different spot. I often take a notebook to the coffee shop in the morning. The walk up there gets my mind working (see #1), and the change from my normal writing place shakes up my mind a bit. The difficulty arises when I’m scribbling a particularly steamy scene in longhand, hoping devoutly that nobody can look over my shoulder and read what I’ve written—or that they’ll guess why I’m concentrating so hard!
3.   Just write. Don’t worry about getting it perfect at first. Your words may start out stilted, but the act of writing will make the ideas start to flow, and you can go back and edit later. I often don’t start at the “beginning” of a scene, as that bogs me down. I start with the “fun” part, the part that presents itself most insistently. Afterwards, I’ll come back and write the graceful introduction.
4.   Give it a day. I start each day by going back over what I wrote the day before. I can always improve it. It also jump-starts that day’s work by getting me back into the book.
5.   If you’re stuck, move! This goes back to #1. If I’m blanking out, I get up and make a cup of tea, empty the dishwasher, anything to shake myself up. The right idea always comes once I stop trying to force it.
There you go. I hope my tips help. And happy writing!

Just Good Friends
By Rosalind James

“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” Kate muttered the following Saturday afternoon as she descended the broad steps to Takapuna Beach. There was Koti at the foot of the stairs, his usual hoodie having failed to preserve his anonymity, having his picture taken with two young women.
“Should I go away and come back later?” she drawled as she approached the group, just as one of the excited women switched places with the photographer to allow yet another picture to be taken.
“Last one, girls,” Koti told them with a smile. “Got to go.”
Kate rolled her eyes as they walked across the broad beach toward the water’s edge. “That’s quite a fan club you’ve got there. Must be nice.”
“You think so?”
“Don’t tell me you don’t enjoy that. You sure seem to.”
“Comes with the territory,” he shrugged. “That doesn’t mean I always enjoy it.”
“Good spot here?” he turned to ask her as they neared the high-tide mark. “Want to swim to the point there, and back?” At her nod, he kicked off his flip-flops and pulled his hoodie and shirt over his head, dropping them with his towel onto the beach.
“You’re kidding,” Kate said, staring at him.
“What? Bad spot?” he asked, confused. “I thought you said it was all right.”
“No. I mean, you. That’s just . . . that’s just ridiculous. Plus the tattoo, the pendant, everything. You’re like some kind of walking advertisement for New Zealand.”
“My tattoo isn’t ridiculous,” he said, genuinely offended now. “My moko honors my ancestors. My pendant isn’t ridiculous either. It’s not for decoration. You’re slagging off my mana now.”
“I’m sorry,” she said quickly. “I didn’t mean to be offensive. I just meant, I’m getting it now. You always have that hoodie on, that’s all. I never realized what you looked like. A little blinded here. I’ve never seen anyone as ripped as that in real life.”
He sighed. “It’s how I look. I’m not going to apologize for it. I’ve been training and playing rugby most of my life, you know. And I’m Maori. I can’t help being big, or having some muscles. You’re just going to have to get over it.”
“Should have worn my sunglasses,” she muttered.
“Were you planning on dropping your own gear anytime soon, so we can get in the water?” he complained. “Freezing my arse off here.”
“No. I don’t think so,” she decided. “I’m seriously insecure, all of a sudden. Let’s forget it and go for coffee instead.”
“Piking out first time, eh,” he mocked. “Not up to the challenge. Reckon I’ve won already.”
Kate’s chin shot up. “You’re right. But don’t watch me take off my clothes. Look at Rangitoto or something for a minute. Because I’m embarrassed now.”
He turned his back with a sigh. “This is what’s ridiculous,” he told her over his shoulder. “I’ve seen you in your togs twice now, remember? I have a pretty good memory of what you look like, too.”
“I remember.” She adjusted her goggles and stepped out into the water. “I’m not your type. Too small and too dark. That’s OK. One of us being that beautiful is more than enough.”
She pushed off and started swimming before he could answer. Just as well, Koti decided as he followed. He wasn’t sure there was any good answer to that one. If he told her what he really thought, she’d probably poison his coffee. Or drown him.

Author Info: Rosalind James is the author of the Kindle bestseller Just This Once and the three subsequent books in the Escape to New Zealand series. She is a former marketing executive who has lived all over the United States and in a number of other countries, traveling with her civil engineer husband. Most recently, she spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries.

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