Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Free Tuesday

Hey, all! Since it is the free Tuesday, I'd like to visit about getting thrown off course.

That's me today. I was just getting in the groove of the new WIP last week. Starting to kick out some pages, get into the characters, and then commitments and company upended me and I sit here today (company is visiting the other daughter for a few days) and I can't quite get motivated to jump back in even though the whole time I couldn't be at the computer writing, the characters and their backstory as well as some scenes that may or may not make it into the book have been playing in my head.

When you get thrown out of sync how do you get back in? I plan to start reading from the beginning and draw myself into the story, but I was wondering what others do. I haven't started any kind of music affiliation with this story yet. But my daughter gave me an MP3 player for my mother's day/birthday present. So now I have to decide what music put on it.

So what do you do to get back in a story when you've been pulled away for a few days?


Lori Barber said...

Paty, great subject. I'm dangling from the same rope. I think about my WIP all day and evening long. I can hear them talking, see them moving through their day, but I'm not at my computer to capture those moments. Instead, I'm busy with family commitments, house remodel and work in our yard...gone wild.

When a smidgen of time does permit me to sit and write I either draw a blank or stare at the screen weary-eyed. Am I cutting to much, adding to much, how do I fix a current problem, and does this further advance the story enough?

I seem to concentrate on the holes. Even if I advance forward, I still know they're back there taunting me and I have a hard time turning a deaf ear to them. Then I start questioning everything I've written and become my own worst critic. Ack!!! Free me from my noose!

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to open my WIP and I did some more editing and writing. It felt so good. Today, I'm a little nervous to take a peek, fearing my edits and additions aren't strong or powerful enough or on target.

In the back of my mind this distant chant keeps playing over and over again. Write...write..write. Practice...practice...practice. I think I'll follow the beat echoing over and over again and tap out the words that rise to the surface, then hunt down the ones insistent on playing hide and seek.

In a word, maybe I need to embrace "persistence."

Alice Sharpe said...

Paty -- sit on the rock, grasshopper, get comfy. You, too, Lori. I am now going to tell you the secret of getting back into a book when you have been torn away by other commitments, illness or a million other things that have to be dealt with.


Oh, wait. There is no secret. That's embarrassing.

I just do what you both did. I either write a new scene I've been playing with (and Lori, you watch, you'll like what you did yesterday just fine and if you don't, at least you have something to play with, enhance or discard, nothing is ever wasted, the raw material of writing on a computer is plentiful and cheap.)

Or, I do what you do, Paty, I start reading what I have. I have come to the conclusion that the idea-swarming that happens when you can't write is very productive -- not a sallow field, more a whirlpool. Didn't you say the other day, Paty, that you write faster and with more direction when you've had time to think things through, first?

I have to say this, Paty, that after I have company or attend a huge people orientated event, I am dead. I can't write for awhile. That's why I guard my people time now when I'm working as it takes so much energy it drains the well for awhile. This started happening after the kids left home and I spent so much time alone -- so maybe you are just burned out and tomorrow you'll wake up raring to go. I can't imagine this problem will last long for you.

Paty Jager said...

I'm glad I'm not alone, Lori! LOL It sounds like you have had a lot going on as well.

Thanks Alice! And I have noticed that I feel drained when the gkids leave. I think it is just all the noise and constant motion that leaves me feeling like I was the one going 90 miles an hour the whole time they were here and not them! LOL

I'm spending today editing and getting that area caught up and hoping after a quiet day and those concerns out of the way, I can get back into the WIP.

And it's true Alice, with all the thinking I've done the last few days, when I do start the words rolling they should really flow.

We're headed out to Princeton this weekend so right there is 6 hours of writing I know will get done.

Karen Duvall said...

Oh, Paty, I'm there with you. And Lori. Happens to me ALL the time... I do what you do, though, and read through what I've already written and it seems to get me back on track. Plus, I'm thinking the story through all the time, so it's always there in my mind. But the longer I'm away from it, the harder it is to return to where I left off.

Like Saturday I got a great start on my new book, then I had to fast on Sunday for a colonoscopy I was to have on Monday, and I tell you my head was nowhere near story telling mode. All I could think about was the food I couldn't have. Then yesterday, after the procedure (all went well, just a health screening, no biggie), I was too drugged up to think. Today? I hope to get some words down tonight.

I can't believe I did this, but I just submitted a partial of KNIGHT'S CURSE to the American Title V contest. The worst they can do is turn me down. Urban Fantasy is one of the categories for this (final) round of the competition, so I may have a chance. If not, no big deal. But I spent some time this morning putting my package together and then going to the PO to mail it off.

Alice Sharpe said...

Karen -- Good for you on the contest Oh, I hope it wins, I hope it wins (okay, spent way too much time with The Little Engine That Could as a kid...)

Everything crossed. I told you before, I think this is your breakthrough book!!!!!

Karen Duvall said...

Ah, Alice, thanks! I hope it is, I hope it is. 8^)

Genene Valleau said...

Darn, Alice, I had pulled up my rock, got comfortable, and was ready for The Secret. LOL!

This is a very timely topic for me. I gave myself permission to take time off from writing, but still felt some guilt about doing so that I needed to work through. However, I knew I needed to change the old habit of overbooking my time that made me feel so overwhelmed I froze at the thought of doing anything.

Months later, I can look back at what I've accomplished and CELEBRATE those accomplishments. I used to be so busy being busy and beating myself up for not getting more done that I didn't take the time to look at all I had accomplished and give myself a pat or two on the back. Feeling proud of what I have accomplished sets a positive tone for what I have yet to do. That may sound like a little thing, but it's huge for me.

And, as always with me, one of my doggies has reminded me of another lesson in the past few days. He's been quite ill, but I've willingly spent extra time with him because I feared I would lose him. However, instead of thinking that extra time was an inconvenience keeping my away from other things I had to do, I looked at that time as a blessing of extra time with him that I might not have had.

In one of those aha moments, I realized I would be better off if I thought of all chores like that. For instance, while doing the laundry, I'll be grateful I have a washing machine and not a wash board like I remember my mother using when I was very young. (Some of you are probably so young you don't know what a wash board is!) I still only occasionally find my dining room table where the laundry is piled to be folded, so if anyone has a blessing for that, please let me know. :)

Long story long, my own perspective is the biggest deterent and also the biggest asset in getting back into a story. If I think I can, I can! (Thanks for that quote, Henry Ford.)

I'm excited that I'll soon be able to do some minor edits to one story and some major plotting on that nine-book series I've been talking about for months. Soon I'll be joining the rest of you in re-reading and re-acquainting myself with characters I've long been away from. I'm looking forward to that!

And, of course, I'll put easel pad sheets up on the wall and dig out every color of sticky note I can find to make notes in addition to pulling out any pictures from magazines that I have been collecting.

Thanks for jumping in with this topic, Paty!

And, Karen, glad your colonoscopy went well, and congrats on entering American Title. That's exciting!