Thursday, June 03, 2010


Current Project:Wyoming BooksStatus: Chapter Five

As I reviewed the past few blogs, both mine and those of other people, a few things occurred to me. We are all at such different places in our careers and in our lives. There isn't a single one of us doing exactly the same thing with exactly the same goals and ambitions. That makes creating universally appealing blogs especially difficult.

But there are a few things we all share and that is the process itself although there are obviously dozens of differences in those, too. Through trial and error, we each develop the tricks of the trade that help us be creative. I accidentally rediscovered one last Tuesday and I thought I would remind you of it, too. My hope is that you have similar advice you can share, things that you have found work for you, that help you get to your goals, that put you in the mind to write, that inspire or reassure you.

The background: It's Tuesday. The dh is gone which means I have all sorts of time to really get back into the this book. However, Plants vs Zombies is proving a great big hairy distraction. I am tthhiisss close to getting the Tree of Wisdom to 1000 feet where I can then type in "Pinata." It's the last goal I have with this game that has been my steadfast companion for the past several months. It's been a whole lot more comforting and entertaining than waiting, waiting, waiting, that's for sure.

The instigating factor: Around 3:30, things finally begin to gel with the book and I am off, writing like a speed demon, inching close to Writer Nirvana, and then the dog barks and I look at the clock. It's ten to five and I have to be in the park at five o'clock for puppy/owner obedience training. I have to quit writing RIGHT NOW. But I am so close to the end of the chapter!!! Agonizing, I accept the inevitable and leave.

The pay off: Guess who knows exactly where to start again the next morning? Guess who can't wait to get to work? Guess why? Well, you know why.

The conclusion: I USED to know to leave a scene unfinished at the end of the day, specially as I was getting back into a project and my work ethic (cough, cough) smelled like a string of dead fish left out in the blazing sun. I had forgotten it. Now I know it again.

Your Turn: Share some trick or method with me that I may have forgotten to use or one that just tickles you or amuses you or maybe even something you find yourself doing and have no idea why but it works. Pat your tummy three times and turn a cartwheel? Line up pencils? Make coffee? Beat solitaire?

And by the way, last night I grew my tree the last hundred feet and typed "Pinata"!! I am thrilled to say my zombies now spurt wrapped candies when their heads fall off.

Life is good.


Genene Valleau said...

LOL, Alice! What a fun post!

I'm so glad you're zooming along with your book! (And congrats on your trees and zombies and pinatas. Fortunately, I did not get addicted to games and won't even put the tempting things on my computer. :)

Tricks for creativity, huh? Because I'm not as far along on my writing projects as I want to be, there are no tricks--just sit down and write. Of course, maybe I'd move along faster with some motivation... about place a piece of chocolate just out of reach and for each scene I finish, I get to eat the chocolate. Then run around the block to be sure the chocolate is used for immediate energy.

I really like what Paty mentioned in a previous comment: no Internet until she had written a certain number of words. However, that doesn't fit with my schedule right now, so I just limit my time checking e-mail and blogs.

I haven't tried the unfinished scene trick, lest I get sidetracked and forget the ideas bubbling in my head. I always want to get those ideas into the computer.

Fun post!

Paty Jager said...

I second the LOL! Ive never heard of candy spitting zombies. I might not be scared of them.

I play Spider Solitaire when I'm unconsciously working on a scene.

I've heard of leaving a scene dangling so you can jump back in. And I have on occasion done that either because like you I had other things calling, or on purpose because I wasn't sure where I wanted to go next.

I always use the same music on projects to draw me in. And as Genene commented, I've been making it a rule. I can't open internet connections until I've written at least 2000 words on my WIP. Though the last two days I've had company and proofed a galley for Bridled Heart.

Fun post, Alice and congrats on the forward motion!

Alice Sharpe said...

Genene-- I love your plate of chocolates! Paty's new commitment of 2,000 words before internet is a good one. (I need 2,000 words before games....)

Btw, your house and the 238 acres that went with it are under a sales pending sign so I guess we're not going to be neighbors...

I was hoping I might get to meet the doggies...

Alice Sharpe said...

Paty -- i've read before that you play the same music for a book as do others) and I have to admit I haven't paid a lot of attention to it mainly because I can't seem to listen to music and write words at the same time. But now I'm curious. Do you actually play this music as you write?

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Alice - I do the solitaire thing. And the spider solitaire thing. And occasionally hearts. I haven't taken up online games yet, trying not to. I'm afraid of the time suck. As some of you may have figured out, I have an obsessive personality (Gasp! I know, you're shocked.)

I listen to instrumental music when writing. I have moods. I can't listen to anything with words. Plotting is different. I love lyrics when plotting. Helps put me in certain scenes.

I've never consciously thought of the "leave a scene unfinished" idea, but it makes total sense and I've done it without knowing and had great luck. I'm going to try it.

My other trick is IM: brainstorming with a writing friend when I'm stuck or need to run something by then. No idea how writers wrote without IM before!

Paty Jager said...

Alice, I listen to the music as I write, but it's mostly instrumental or a language I don't know. Native American music for the NA books, I'm listening to Inca and Mayan music for the current book. The historical westerns I listen to bluegrass and Celtic music. The contemporary westerns I did listen to music with lyrics while writing, but I kept it low.(Shania Twain, Chris LeDoux

Paty Jager said...

BTW I am playing catch up today, so the internet rule was set to the side. I only have this morning to get things done on the internet before we head to Princeton and no internet for three days.

Alice Sharpe said...

Eli -- I am totally aboard with the brainstorming thing, esp. the way you do it with a shirt question. A decent answer opens other doors in your head and you're off. Sometimes it seems that the explanations to get to where someone can brainstorm are so long it grinds everything to a halt so I suppose part of the trick is knowing how to phrase the question!

When it comes to music, I guess I get too distracted -- moved by the melancholy tunes, intrigued by lyrics, involved with classical -- it intrudes. But you and Paty sure use it to your advantage.

Alice Sharpe said...

Paty -- Have a great time in Princeton!