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Release Your Creativity and Regain the Freedom to Write Release Your Creativity and Regain the Freedom to Write by Kathryn Lively

You want to write that novel. For years you've dream of taking time off to transcribe the idea you've nurtured for years. You can see the action taking place and you know every detail you want to convey, right down to your heroine's eye color and her favorite foods. Maybe now you do have the time, you're on sabbatical from work, or you're retired altogether. You have the time, the paper, the workspace, but when it comes down to getting the story on paper, nothing. No 'Once Upon a Time,' no 'It was the best of times.' You're blocked, and you haven't even started!

You go to the bookstore for inspiration and see all the titles on the shelves. Some authors can crank out a novel a year, and you know your writing is just as good, if not better. How do these people become so prolific, and why can't the magic rub off on you?

Actually, it's not magic that can help you get motivated to write. Just good old fashioned common sense.

I'd like to share some great writing advice with you that has helped me thus far to complete thirteen novels in five years, two of which are available on the Internet and one on the shelves of Borders! It didn't come instantly, however. Ten years ago, I couldn't finish a chapter, much less an entire work of fifty thousand or more words. These days, it's nothing to generate twenty thousand words in two weeks.

You say you have a great idea for a book and are going to pursue writing it? That's great. Now, shut up.

That's right, that the advice. It may seem a tad too contradictory to the position of a writer. You want your stories to be heard, and it would make sense to want to talk about what we are writing. Yet, talking in this case can be risky.

This advice comes from Harriette Austin, a teacher of creative writing at the University of Georgia for whom their annual mystery writer's conference is named. When taking a class with her one semester, I noted how difficult I time I was having in writing just the first few pages of a mystery novel. The idea had been brewing inside me for years, so much that I had the entire story acted out in my mind, yet I could not transfer it to paper.

Harriette asked me if I had told anyone else about this story. I had told my husband and family. She told me that was the problem -- I had talked about the story out loud to somebody else, and in all likelihood I talked the story to its end...literally talking myself out of writing it!

It may seem difficult to not talk about what you are writing, especially when you are excited about the story, as I hope many of you are when you write! However, since I wanted badly to write a novel, I took this advice to heart and kept mum about future projects. When people inquired about my writing, I gave them only a sage smile and 'It's a work in progress.' Since receiving that advice, I've managed to quietly finish drafts of five mystery novels and eight romances!

Give it a try. Keep a pencil to the paper and a pin to the lip. Watch the words funnel through onto the page instead of out in the air where they may be lost.

Kathryn Lively is an award-winning writer and editor. She is the author of Pithed: an Andy Farmer Mystery (Mundania Press) and the Ash Lake Mysteries. She is also the publisher of Phaze, the ultra-sensual romance imprint of Mundania Press, and speaks all over the East Coast at conferences about writing and publishing.

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