Sometimes when a writer digs, they find rich soil. Fragrant. The kind of dirt that sticks to your fingers just a little bit and compels you to bring it up to your nose to smell. The kind that brings images of lush growth. The kind where the fertilizer has long lost its poopy scent and blended perfectly into a pungent ripeness, ready for the touch of a master. It brings a promise all its own.
At other times, full of good intentions, a writer hits elusive sand. Or even worse, dense and sticky clay.
So what then?
God, I wish I knew.
I have this amazing story that I'm about a quarter into. I have a self-imposed deadline (but it's still a deadline), and the date is looking more impossible to achieve every day. I'm struggling to find my focus. My touch. The thing that brings magic to my writing. Energy.
Last night I returned from a week long road trip with my dad during which I wrote not one new word. That's okay. Sometimes making memories is more important than making a sentence. Truly. And the road trip? Thirteen hours each way, fourteen if you count the breakfasts at Denny's (which I don't recommend) and stopping to fill up the gas tank. My dad's nickname is Rocket-Ass when it comes to road trips. I sort of learned I have a bit of Rocket-Ass in me as well, but that's another story. Right now all I feel is wiped out. Even with a good night's sleep in my own bed.
I'm feeling as if I've lost my way. After the holidays I never really got back into gear. Tonight I feel as if getting back into gear is the least of my worries. I've misplaced the damn car.
Today I've been sidetracked. Do I have Amazon Author Pages up in all of the available countries, and if not, why not? Have I refilled all of the bird feeders? Watered the plants that need watering? Have I contacted all of the possible sites to announce the free dates next month for The Missings? Is the grocery list put together enough that I can run my other errands and hit the store without a repeat performance the next day? What about scheduling those dates with friends? Writing… it didn't happen.
I know I need to just start digging. To believe that among the yucky clay I'm bound to find fertile loam.
I so relate to that. I have a good start on a new story (that I'm very excited about), and I intended to plow right through the first draft. Then two of my sons and their partners needed a place to stay at the same time. So my house is full, and the book just sits there. But life is good, and I'll get back to it soon. Good luck to both of us.ReplyDelete
Everything distracts me, the marketing most of all. After I've been on all the social media, I find it hard to buckle down to work (in case I miss an important announcement or opportunity). I'm bouncing between edits on a book scheduled for release in March and a new MS, of which I am 8k words in. My mind is in 2 places and I find it hard to get going on the new MS with the editing of the other still in progress. Keep digging, Peg. The treasures are never buried at the surface.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the admonition to keep digging, Jenny. It didn't happen today, but I'm nothing if not an optimist. Sudden changes in plans have people coming to my house for dinner tomorrow night, but hey… I'm flexible.Delete
I think I have some of that Rocket-Ass in me as well. Got the sidetrack thing going on too. I find myself suddenly wanting to do tedious jobs around the house--ones I never normally do--at the very moment I feel helpless about my writing. Sometimes, it's good to take a break. What seems like mindless or trivial often kicks the writer's brain into gear. I've learned to go with the flow. It seems to work for me.ReplyDelete
"Feeling helpless" is exactly right. I know I can take charge. The trick is to do it. Sometimes I need to kickstart my "flow." Thanks, Drew. You've encouraged me as usual.Delete
I can really relate, Peg, as I just got back from a week's holiday myself. (My apologies to everyone for being out of the loop lately - internet in our hotel in Havana, Cuba was very expensive and very slow!)ReplyDelete
My suggestion is to just get comfortable and start rereading what you've already written. That should get you back in the groove and get your creative juices flowing again.
Good luck with it! (And now I need to take my own advice!)
Jodie, my goal is to have a new manuscript ready for an editor in a couple of months—and I'm hoping you can fit me in.Delete
I'd love to work with you again on one of your excellent novels, Peg! So get back to it! LOLReplyDelete
Where's that "Like" button when you need it?Delete
Hi - this is not on writing, but about Dennys. The only good breakfast we have ever had there was in Canada. I can't remember the name of the town, but it was about an hour east of Prince Rupert. The chef mad the best scrambled eggs ever - light, fluffy and delicious. I would go back ther for breakfast! DeeReplyDelete
The problem with most road trips is finding a place to eat that takes pride in just being good. It's unlikely that all of the patrons will ever pass that way again, so I think some restaurants stop caring. You would think a franchise operation would take a dim view of people messing up the program, but they apparently don't care. Glad you found a good one! If I'm ever in that part of Canada, I'll be on the lookout.Delete
made! Must remember to preview! DeeReplyDelete
When I stick my hands in the non-poopy fertilizer dirt and smell them (pronoun!), I start sneezing. Childhood allergies snicker.ReplyDelete
There's the old standby: set the timer, set the R-A in a chair, and throw letters on the screen - poopy smelling fertilizer mixes with sand, too. (Every time I try that, there's a new dent in the wall or my head. Or a bottle of single malt Scotch has something missing. Or all the above.)
Pull a Sergeant Pepper.
(This one has worked: I put on some "music to write to" and tell myself (scream inside my head with kinds of invective) that what I am writing is crap. My gollum gets tired of its tirade, though it does check in every once in a while to remind me that I'm writing crap, until it gets distracted by the music. I can then go back and edit whatever the stuff is.)
Perhaps writing a different genre? Or a different part of the story? Go all Random Access on the story.
Maybe the deadline's the wrong conflict. When was the last time the protagonist had an ice cream cone, or the villain a chocolate Sunday? Maybe the love interest needs a pepto-bismoll after the trip to Denny's.
Long walks help. (Why are there horses?)
David, I'm happy to announce that I got a few words in this afternoon. Surprise company for dinner tonight, surprise company for dinner tomorrow, but I finished one scene and began the next. I'm breathing again.ReplyDelete
Cheers and all kinds of happy icons.Delete
Guess who's coming to dinner? (Maybe that's part of a scene, or making one?)
Keep us posted!
(How do I get my little picture thingie to show up?
I think it's part of Google. When you upload a photo to your profile page, it automatically shows up.Delete
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