Deb Linda’s Somewhat Inappropriate Suggestions for Keeping the Fire Burning

You know how you reach that point in a relationship where everything is kind of ho-hum? Where you’re just going through the motions, hoping to make it to the part where things will get interesting again?

Things aren’t bad, exactly, but the zing is no longer as zingy as it once was. If the relationship were a taco, it would lack picante sauce. If it were a sundae, it would be plain chocolate syrup on vanilla frozen yogurt, not hot fudge on Hagen Daz with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

(Hmm. Is anyone else getting hungry?)

It would be like a martini without olives—quelle horreur!

Hey…wait a minute. You don’t think I’m talking about TG and me, do you? Because let me assure you, that man is picante sauce, hot fudge, whipped cream, and olives all rolled into one. (You know, without being as gross as that sounds.) And I like to think I’m the cherry on top.

What I’m talking about is writer/book relationships. Because, hard as it is to acknowledge, sometimes the passion for a WIP does does die. As with some relationships between people (or so I’ve heard), a certain ennui can set in after a time. You can’t seem to come up with anything new to say. And face it, if you stare at anything long enough, you start to see all the annoying little flaws that were easily overlooked in the first blush of love.

The patterns get predictable. What was once a comforting familiarity becomes “Oh, dear lord, not that again!”

But don’t despair! It is possible to restore that flame to its blazing glory. To find that passion again! In fact, the very same tips often suggested for people relationships also apply to books.

So, if your Work In Progress is in serious need of a flame-thrower, try these:

1. A romantic getaway. Get your rear in gear, and take that WIP away from the same ol’-same ol’. A coffee shop, a park, the zoo. Heck, take a grease pencil into the tub with you, write notes all over your skin, and then afterwards write naked while you refer to them. Changing your usual routine is the idea.

(Of course, if writing naked is your usual routine, never mind.)

2. Ménage à trois, anyone? Ménage à quatre? Or cinq? *ahem* The idea here is to try adding another person to your cast. Write in somebody new and unexpected, just to shake things up. See what pops up when a new character comes into play. Er, so to speak.

3. Toys, anyone? *waggles eyebrows* New pens, notebooks, bulletin boards, paper clips—any shiny new writing supplies you can think of—can really get that engine revved up again. Careful, though. You don’t want to get so *cough* distracted by, um, technology that you forget about the essence of the relationship: you and the words, baby. You and the words.

4. If all else fails, take a break. Sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder. Just don’t let your break morph into “Out of sight, out of mind.”


How about you guys? Any tips for fanning the flames of love for your Work in Progress? They don’t even have to be naughty…but you know I’ll giggle if they are.

22 Replies to “Deb Linda’s Somewhat Inappropriate Suggestions for Keeping the Fire Burning”

  1. Oh, so it’s a PEN… (Yeah, I had to look twice. 😉 )

    I LOVE this post, Linda. What a wonderful subject!! This is SO true in WIP-land. I always run into the same condition with every manuscript–it’s almost uncanny. No matter the story, the characters, like clock-work, at page 150 or so I will hit a wall. The flame fizzles. It’s so maddening! Sure it comes back but there is that panicked space in between where you fear it’s gone for good–how did this happen???? Things were going so well!

    WIP lust ebbs and flows, there’s no question. And your tips are spot-on. Too often we get so fixated on the routines (ie outlines) of our WIPs that we lose the spontaneity that makes writing so exciting–for both writer and reader! In my second book, I had an epiphany because I had been so determined that one of the characters (a particularly lusty and captivating fellow) wouldn’t arrive for several more chapters–then guess what? He just showed up early! And boom! Suddenly my manuscript got a jolt of adrenaline and I was off again.

    Now what’s this crazy talk about martinis without olives?

    1. LOL! Yeah, the pen is (heh-heh) kind of funny, huh? But since we can pretend it’s a rocket ship, I figured it isn’t TOO offensive. *grin*

      A writer buddy of mine told me something I try to always keep in mind: don’t “save” the good stuff. If you find yourself writing “filler” on the way to the scene you’re really excited about…well, the reader will be just as bored as you are.

      And I can’t wait to meet your lusty and captivating fellow! Sounds like my kind of guy. 🙂

  2. Ha! Linda, this is hilarious, but at it’s (steamy) core, all very true. Changing routine and shaking things up always helps to get the…er…juices flowing, creatively speaking, of course.
    (OMG-Mom, you’d better not be reading this)

    1. Thanks! And isn’t that video hysterical? It’s my new favorite. (For those of you who haven’t seen it, my blog is at

    1. We’ll have to have a Wolf Pack meet-up someday, and gorge on hot fudge sundaes while we howl about the publishing world. 😉

  3. This is a frequent problem for me. I’ve solved it with the coffee shop thing before. Sometimes thinking about it while moving (swimming, for example) helps. Sometimes I’ll be thinking about a plot point when I go to sleep and I wake up the next morning with the perfect next step.

    1. Adding some locomotion to the thinking process works for me, too–long walks on a nearby wooded path can really loosen up the old ideas.

      Also, I like how helpful your sleeping mind is!

  4. Yep. Happens to me with every single thing I write at some point. I tell my wip to get naked. That’s right. I start stripping out the boring parts, adding spice, and before you know it, me and wip say cheers and have a smoke;)

  5. When a WIP loses its allure, I’m a believer in “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Ignore it for a while and do something else, and (hopefully) when you pick it up again, you’ll once again appreciate its many charms, and fall in love all over again.

  6. How timely! It’s happening to me right now. I’m thinking maybe a back rub and some wine and chocolates. Or the coffee shop. That could be good, too. 🙂

  7. If I find I’m not loving the story I’m working on I cheat on it by writing something else. As I write short stories as well as longer works that’s quite easy to manage without getting caught. Couldn’t cope with two novels at once – I’d be sure to mix up my characters and nobody wants to have me using the wrong name at a critical moment.

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