Thursday, August 21, 2014

BLOCKED!: Tips for Busting the Block by Mia Downing #CampusCravings #mm #eroticromance #anthology

There is irony in suffering writer’s block while writing a post about writer’s block. The whole insecurity thing comes out in a rush that is at times overwhelming. What do I have to offer? My post will be stupid, so why bother? Who’s going to read it? And that right there is the gist of my writer’s block when it comes to my own work. The little voices that take you down and get in the way from putting words on the page.

I have had writer’s block for a year now, and every step to write again is like fighting your way out of a lion’s den with one strip of bacon. When that one strip of bacon is gone, it’s pretty scary in there. The key is to not use up all the bacon and to find a way to regenerate it, so to speak. I know that sounds corny, but you’d be surprised how you can tap into that power when the going gets desperate. If someone told you to write or die, you’d be pounding out the words at a furious pace. I realize writing is not a life or death situation, but sometimes you have to embrace your inner drama queen (or king) to get things done.

Here’s what worked for me for Switching Leads, an m/m novella in the Campus Cravings collection, to be released 8/25.

1) Set a concise deadline.
I knew I had to have my story written and edited before a certain date, and it made it easier to put words on the page. Write it or fail eight other authors who believed in me enough to invite me. I did technical writing for years and wrote to a deadline. I didn’t care if I wrote crap because I figured I’d fix it later. I used that mentality and was a few days late, but I’m proud of the final product. It’s not crap at all!

2) Try a new writing program.
I started using Scrivener for Switching Leads and I’m glad I made the switch (har har, no pun intended.) What I like about the program (and I could write a million words on Scrivener—how I love thee) is that I can set a target word count for each session and then for the overall project. It made it easier to see the progress I made and made it all less overwhelming. There are a lot of benefits besides that and there’s a free 30 day trial. Check it out. 

3) Disconnect from the Internet.
Turn it off, go write in a park where you can’t log in, or try using the Internet as a reward for your writing triumphs. Get rid of the distractions!

That’s the hardest thing, but I found during my vacation out in the boondocks that I was able to sit down and just power through the last bit I had to write. With Scrivener, I also discovered I could make notes in the side columns that I could look up later, like spelling or terminology. It saved me from surfing the Internet and using that as a way to get out of writing. Then I would go back and do one Internet session of looking random stuff up. You can also use the Comments feature in Word to make a note. That’s easy enough to scroll through and fix later.

4) Find some peer pressure!
 This year I tried Camp NaNo to see if I could jump start some writing. I didn't use it as much as I could have, but it did help me to write more words than I would have written on my own. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) takes place in November. Camp NaNo is run by the same people and takes place in April and July, and is more free-form. Both will help push you to write.

5) Just write
That’s the hardest part, putting words on the page when they won’t come. But if you sit down and make a commitment to write something—anything—at some point you’ll find you’ve crawled your way through the lion’s den and outside into the midst of the cheering crowd.

I hope these tips help you regenerate your writing “bacon.” May it help keep the writer’s block lions at bay!

Title: Switching Leads from Campus Cravings, an m/m bundle
Date Published: 8/25/14
Genre: m/m, college (not really NA since there are adult relationships as well)
Word Count: Switching Leads 27,500 Entire collection, Over 200,000

Campus Cravings Blurb:
Nine of the hottest gay romance authors have crafted sweet and sexy tales about love among the hallowed halls of fictional Cathia University. These brand-new stories feature everything from spirited undergrads to worldly professors—over 200k words!

Switching Leads blurb:
He’s used to taking the reins…for love will he switch leads?

Coach John Graham needs a new assistant for Cathia U's equestrian team. The last person he expects to get the job walks into the barn and stops his heart. How is he supposed to focus on the team when his ex-lover—sexy horse trainer Finn Parker—wants back into his life…and into his bed? 
An excerpt from Switching Leads
John nodded slowly. “I never realized how you felt about me or my riding. I never believed…” He took a deep breath. “You told me you loved me, and then I found you in bed with Dean, and then the job…” He shrugged and looked away. “I never believed how you felt about me then. And I’ve been pissed for ten years.”
Finn swallowed, his heart hammering. “Now do you believe I felt that way?” He wasn’t going to ask if John believed he loved him still. Baby steps.
John’s gaze flickered from Finn’s eyes to mouth and back up again in a slow perusal that seared Finn’s skin. “Yeah,” he said hoarsely and leaned across the stool between them. His lips brushed Finn’s surprised ones in a gentle kiss.
He’d dreamed about this for so long—John’s acceptance of his apology—but never had it ended like this, with those firm lips sliding across his as if coaxing belief from the inside.
John withdrew and slid from his stool. He spun Finn’s seat a little and eased between Finn’s thighs, the beginning of an erection pressing against Finn’s zipper. Finn’s cock throbbed at the contact, his belly contracting with anticipation.
“I’m sorry,” John whispered, his pupils dilated, eyes hooded as he stared down into Finn’s eyes. His chest rose and fell rapidly against Finn’s.
“For what?”
“For being unprofessional. I’ve never kissed a co-worker before.” John bent and brushed Finn’s mouth in another kiss, this one a little longer with a touch of heat. Finn didn’t dare open his mouth and beg for tongue. In the past, Finn had ruled their sex life, had directed the kisses. The fact that John had switched leads on him was as heady as a bottle of good Bourbon.
“I promise I won’t tell,” Finn murmured when John lifted his lips.
John cupped the back of Finn’s head with his palm. “Good.”

About Mia Downing…

Mia Downing started creating heroes at age four, but her heroes back then rode ponies to the rescue and only gave chase kisses on the cheek. Today, Mia's heroes still rescue those in need, but the price of their toys and the expertise of their seduction leads to a lot more. When Mia isn't busy creating new stories for her readers she fills in as an underwear model for a prestigious lingerie company. She also lives in New England with her family, and enjoys horses and knitting.

Find Mia on the Web!


I’m willing to give away a digital copy of Just Ask or Ripped. Just leave a comment!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Your tip #3 is right on target for me! I have to promise myself I will write for X pages or words before I can go on-line or I won't get anything done. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Ashantay, I'm glad that helped out! I hope you get lots written!

  2. Thanks, I'm going to implement tips #3, 4 and 5 today and when I get my new laptop (One that allows me to type m and i without hitting the keys ten time) I'll try Scrivener. I've heard good things about it.

    1. Oh congrats on the new laptop, Marlow! You need to watch the 10 minute tutorial video on Scrivener's website to have it all make sense. It really did the trick to get me up and running. Good luck!

  3. Thanks for the post on writers block. It is amazing how persistent and annoying it can be.

    1. Hi Jen, you're welcome! It's been a long haul. I wish you the best with your writing!

  4. Hi Mia,
    Thank you for participating in Blocked! All of these are right on target for me except #2. Trying new software adds another level of distraction as I try to figure it out. ;-)

    1. Melissa, I actually was so excited to try it that it really helped. I set it up before I started Camp NaNo and didn't allow myself to use it to write new words until Camp started. The learning curve is fairly small on the writing side. I did have to figure things out for editing and transferring to Word again, but at least I wrote!

  5. With my illness, and being housebound, I have a raging case of writers block. I've managed to put some words down a little at a time, but depression is playing havoc with my creative juices. It's hard to fight, but I have to keep going.

    1. Ilona, hugs on the depression. I have fought with that on and off, too, over the years. I applaud you for recognizing where the drain is coming from and struggling on. Every few words you can manage is still progress. ((hugs))

  6. Melissa, thank you so much for hosting me! I really appreciated the opportunity.