The Longhand Cure with Author Nikki Duncan



Today is the last day of our two-week guest blogger extravaganza. I want to thank all of the awesome writers who stopped by. I've learned a lot and everyone out there has too. Thanks to all of you who have left comments and made our guests feel welcome!  :)

Now on to today's lovely guest. I met Nikki Duncan via my local RWA group. (See, this is another plug for why you should get involved with your local writing community, not just the online one. You meet some terrific and talented people.) So Nikki is going to talk to us about what she does to get past some of the challenges of writing. And she's not just talking the talk. Each month at our meetings, we list our number of pages written or edited so that we can celebrate each other's accomplishments, and Nikki is always high on the list with crazy numbers. So, this girl is writing her butt off, people. Let's find out how she does it.  Take it away, Nikki...



Writing Challenges and the Longhand Cure
Q: Is writing hard? How do you get past writer’s block? Do you plot or let the story flow? Where do you find time to write?
A: Yes. It’s not real in my opinion. A little of both depending on the book. I make it.
These are only some of the questions I’m asked on a regular basis and the answers are simple, but oh so complicated. The one that confuses people most is the writer’s block one. No one believes every story just flows freely for us and we never struggle to write. And if anyone makes that claim I think they’re full of...well something.
I’ve found myself more and more lately working old school, with pen and paper. If I hit a wall in whatever I’m writing, I can sometimes find motivation in changing music (or turning it on). Others I have to get away from the computer and work longhand.
Why wouldn’t you work on the computer? It seems it would save you so much time?
It would save time if the words flowed onto the screen, but the computer comes with more distractions—Internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, IMs. All these are necessary tools in my trade, but they also take away from the writing. And at the first sign of trouble in a story, at the first hint of an “I don’t know what happens next” moment, it’s easy to turn to any one of those distractions and not write.
Longhand, grabbing a pen and paper and leaving the room with the computer, stops that. I find a quiet corner in the house or in the backyard on a nice day and just write. On paper, the writing is much rougher. It’s more of a stream of thought flow, and it’s near impossible to go back and fix the little errors, so there are a lot of notes in the margins of things to go back and fix, but it gets the first draft written. And I can toss that pen and paper in my bag when I go to sit in a school’s car line or wait in a doctor’s office for an appointment. I can get a lot of writing done in those five or ten minute bursts of time (making time).
So if you’re trying to write, just starting out or struggling with a story, try taking a pen and paper to a different spot in the house or outside. Just write something, even if it’s not your actual story. Write about a character, everything you know, and keep going until you learn something new. Then see where that new discovery takes you. Surprisingly it will often be an answer to fixing whatever you’re struggling with.
Regardless of your approach to writing, if it’s your dream to write, then write. Don’t give anyone or anything the power to stand in your way.

Heart stopping puppy chases, childhood melodrama and the aborted hangings of innocent toys are all in a day’s work for Nikki Duncan. This athletic equestrian turned reluctant homemaker turned daring author, is drawn to the siren song of a fresh storyline.
Nikki plots murder and mayhem over breakfast, scandalous exposes at lunch and the sensual turn of phrase after dinner. Nevertheless, it is the pleasurable excitement and anticipation of unraveling her character’s motivation that drives her to write long past the witching hour.

The only anxiety and apprehension haunting this author comes from pondering the mysterious outcome of her latest twist.
Her debut book SOUNDS TO DIE BY is now available in print, and is the first book in the Sensory Ops series. Read more about SOUNDS TO DIE BY here.
 The second book in her Sensory Ops Series, SCENT OF PERSUASION, is now available in eBook and will release April 5, 2011 in print. Read more about SCENT OF PERSUASION here.




So what tricks do you you have for when you feel yourself getting stuck? Anyone else find longhand writing effective?


**Today's Theme Song (Author's Choice)**
"Kick Some Ass" - Stroke 9
(and instead of playing it in the sidebar, Nikki has given us the fun video for her chosen song!)