Running Barefoot Through the Pages

If you’ve read a couple of my recent posts, you’ll know that for most of this year I’ve struggled with direction…and if I’m being really, really honest, with getting new words on the page. Edits don’t count. Writing blog posts and articles don’t count. Tooling around tweaking old finished but “not for publication” manuscripts don’t count. None of that counts as new words on the page. I was lost.

Woman on Beach Looking at Ocean

I’d recently dropped by my friend’s blog:

She was having a similar frustrating time with her work. I knew by my horoscope that Mars was retrograde in my sign and that things would be sluggish, both personally and professionally, from March first until this week. I kept telling myself not to fret and just wait it out and read some good literature. This morning I mentally put that drought of words behind me and silently said “bring it on.” Then I flexed my fingers and started typing.

Anyway, this is how I responded to my friend on her post:

I’ve been going through similar frustrations regarding my writing. The pure pleasure of putting words on the page that I had before being published, similar to a child having pleasure in drawing stick figures with crayons, is different than the writing after being published. Now I worry about every word. Something gets lost in the process, and I’m certain it is that freedom to sink into the creativity with innocent passion. I’ve decided to write something just for me, and to have fun and be silly. There is no goal, no plan for this story. It just is. I hope I can reclaim some of the early innocence and just let my hair down and run barefoot through the pages.

If you happen to notice an old lady carrying a fist full of crayons and running barefoot through your neighborhood, give her a smile and cheer of encouragement. I think she’s chasing a cowboy.

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24 Responses to Running Barefoot Through the Pages

  1. Dee J. says:

    Oh man… I think this is universal. At least, I feel your pain. Getting new words down has been killer for me too, so you’re not alone. Love your fistful of crayons! You go, girl! Catch that cowboy!

  2. Oh, yes. Am finally wiggling my way out of the seagrass morass of non-words. I’m thinking we need a creative day soon – everyone bring crayons and we’ll go to a park…HUGS honey!

    • robena grant says:

      Yes! Writing in nature is awesome, Christine. I was thinking about that yesterday when Tonya Plank and I sat at a picnic bench at Bridges and just talked shop for an hour.

  3. Janie Emaus says:

    This is so true! Can I run with you?

    • robena grant says:

      Yes, Janie! You can let your hair go wild and free and we can run in the surf and get our feet wet. And laugh. And talk about silly things. And it will be so energizing.

  4. Liz Flaherty says:

    Wait for me! I want to go too! I’m in the same place, Robena. I’m writing okay–though slowly–but in the back of my mind are all the words that are like sticks in the spokes. Goal, motivation.conflict. Forward motion. Scene and sequel. All good things, but I can’t think about them and write at the same time.

  5. robena grant says:

    Exactly, Liz. I’ve figured out that I can’t think about those things when I write the rough draft. I get to them in the rewrite. Some of them in the second rewrite. But that first pen to paper has to be purely from my subconscious mind. So here’s to joining me in writing whatever, and to coloring outside the lines, and to having fun. Wish we lived closer.

  6. Judy, Judy, Judy says:

    You need to use those crayons to draw yourself a nice lasso to catch the cowboy!

  7. Hi Robena —
    I hope you have all of your favorite crayon colors in your hand, and that you have a ball. I know of that cowboy you’re chasing, and I think he has exactly what you need for your writing right now.

    I miss those days too.

  8. I think the best books come when you write just for you. Be selfish. Write the book YOU want to read, because out there are a ton of readers who are exactly like you. They will find and love your book and they will recognize that it came from your heart.

  9. Sam Beck says:

    Yes, now I know the ugly truth. Nothing kills the joy of writing quite like writing with expectations, (even when it’s just you expecting something of yourself). I’m pushing myself back into my manuscript with baby steps. Shoot for 500 words/day. If I get more, I get more. If I don’t, I don’t. But I want to ENJOY those 500!!!

    Good luck chasing the cowboy! (That sounds like FUN)!

  10. Nan says:

    So with you, Roben! I’m allowing editing gigs to be the reason I’m not finishing the 3rd WOWB book–and to some extent, that’s valid. But also, my head’s just not there right now. When I do take a break from editing, I find a million other things to do rather than sit down and finish the dang book! I know I’ll get it done, but I’m frustrated with my own lack of focus about it.

    • robena grant says:

      It’s funny, Nan, but for some reason every writer I speak to has had this same problem during the first half of 2014. Maybe it’s the way the planets were aligned. Here’s to new alignments that spark creativity for all of us!!!

  11. I’m always so grateful to writer pals like you, Roben, who make me feel like I’m not alone! Lately, it’s been tough for me, too, and I’ve been trying to remind myself to enjoy the process and remember what it felt like to just write without getting it “right.” Words on the page with a smile on my face and a lightness in my heart – that’s what I’m striving for again. (Man, once you’re published things definitely do change!)


  12. robena grant says:

    It’s so good to hear comments like this from you, and Sam, both being RITA nominees. We can all fall into that thing of thinking we’re the only one struggling, or the only one questioning, and then put out a comment like this and find so many of you not only get what I’m saying but experience the same feelings. It warms my heart and makes me want to knuckle down and write harder.

  13. I hear you! I have a sequel that needs to be written but each word seems to think it is precious. What a great wake up call to just remember to have fun with it. Thanks!

  14. robena grant says:

    Thanks for dropping by, Pamela. It makes me feel so much better to know I have company on this crazy journey. Ha ha.

  15. Julie says:

    Well, you already know that **I** never wear shoes, if I can help it…….

    And yes, there are crayons here, too.

    Looking forward to hearing about (and eventually reading) this new adventure!

  16. robena grant says:

    Aww, thanks, Julie. I can picture you doing your Tarot readings, barefoot with a bunch of crayons in hand.

    **BTW if anyone needs a reading, check out Julie’s site