Friday, September 7, 2012

The Struggle to Gain Momentum After a Long Break

I thought it would be easy to get myself back into the habit of writing lots of words every day after taking a bit of an unplanned break over the summer.  And I thought that having a huge project in front of me would be very motivating.

Nothing's ever easy, right?  I assessed the situation on Tuesday night.

My desk was trashed.  Completely unusable.

My notes and partially written chapters were everywhere. 

I forgot the names of my characters.

Panic set in.

So I dropped my little guy off at preschool on Wednesday.  And instead of going home to dive into writing, my feet walked me to the observation room. 

The school has one-sided mirrors like they have in interrogation rooms on TV.  I was not alone.  One little guy in the classroom was crying; the director came in with his mother and warned us that this particular child was not expected to stop crying for a few weeks.  We were told not to worry. 

My little guy was standing up and was wiggling nervously, looking like he was going to be the first one to pee his pants.  Luckily, he just had a puzzle out that he was having problems with.  The puzzle was inside the circle - the very important circle made of blue painter's tape on carpet where the children sit for the morning meeting.  It seems like a small thing, but I was relieved he asked for help on day one from a teacher he had never seen before.  I knew he would be fine.

Eventually I went home after consoling the mother of the child who was still wailing.  Even after I got home, I didn't write.  I decided to get organized, physically and mentally.  I cleaned my desk.  I put away other WIPs that were cluttering up the place. I decided on a place for the books I need to review for research (not on my desk). 

One thing I did that I believe will really help is I started a new One Note project.  I created folders for each novel in the series where I can post the synopsis, the character details, and the outline.  And I set up folders for historical research, the overall task list, and everything I think I will need.  

Now I'm ready to write.  And yet I'm not writing.  I'm still a bit paralyzed.

I think I'm going to take it one day at a time.  Today I'm going to type up an outline that I hand wrote weeks ago and call it a day.  I am going to try to have faith that if I do a little bit every day, it will add up to a lot soon.  And in a week or two this paralysis will end, and the words will come flying out. 

26 comments:

  1. All that organization stuff is important too. I sometimes look at my writing space and wonder how I find anything. About once a week I have to reorganize and clean it up or I'd forever be distracted by all the clutter.

    And when I'm feeling "out" of my story, I usually go back and read from the beginning, and that usually works to get me back into the character's head.

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    1. Even after I got all of my notes in a neat stack, it was an overwhelming mess. I did start typing up what I had handwritten and was so into it I almost missed preschool pickup. Ooops.

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  2. Have some chocolate while you're at it.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

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    1. Chocolate gives me migraines. Sucks, huh?

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  3. I second LG's suggestion. Reread some of your stuff and it will help you get back into mode.

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    1. I agree. I think little chunks of time - maybe more than one chunk a day is what I need to do too until I can work up to writing for three hours straight. It's like push-ups, right?

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  4. I have confidence in your that you'll find your mojo again. Decluttering and organizing is a very good start.

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  5. Yup,re-reading does help. Also,try not looking at the whole project all at once - that is totally overwhelming. All you have to do is type one word, one phrase, one sentence at a time.
    Karen

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    1. I do think looking at all of it as a whole is what's overwhelming me. I do need to look at it as a whole to plan out how the stories and characters fit together before I get too deep into it. But I definitely don't need to do it today.

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  6. I SO relate to this!! First it was moving from England to FL, buying a house and prepping for baby. Then baby arrived.

    I'm finally ready to get back into the swing of things, but it has been tough following through. My motto is "one day at a time."

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    1. Writing with a new baby is not easy. At least they nap. Maybe "One hour at a time" would be better. :)

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  7. Good suggestions by Alex and LG. That's how I get enthused about my characters - reading a fave chapter or thinking of other scenes I could write. Small goals are better (that's why I have a writing calendar where I write monthly goals. I don't always reach them, but I try).

    I felt the same way when I totally re-org'd the first five chapters of my book after many revisions. For a couple of weeks, I felt lost, and I had to do a new outline so I knew what had been moved and what was happening in each chapter. Huge job, but had to be done. Keep at it. We'll support you.

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    1. I definitely want to finish typing up the outline of at least one before I start writing. Small goals one day at a time might work better for me than monthly. I know by the end of the month I want to be writing 2500 words a day. If I write that on the calendar, I'm going to get chest pains. :/

      I do appreciate the support.

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  8. I'm sure they will! The clean and organized space helps me so much. I also try to take advantage of all that time I spend at soccer practices/games to think about my WIP and write little email notes to myself about ideas.

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    1. I had planned to do more over the summer. I did get a lot done at a parent meeting for preschool.

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  9. When I'm having trouble, and I am lately after not coming up for air for most of the summer to get everything done, I set very small milestones. Come on, I say, just 100 words, 500 words, just do this. Sometimes I do only what I set as the goal, but soon I will start working beyond it and keep going. Because that's the way it always goes. Anyway, it helps me.

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    1. I agree on small goals and milestones.

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  10. You will get there. I can't function if everything else is too messy, but organizing your notes can also help organize your brain. It often does for me

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    1. It really is helping. I have 14 chapters of the first story (about half) typed up. The second half should be easier. Yay!!!

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  11. I think you're still transitioning. I organize my desk before I start a new project. I hope it works for you too.

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    1. It's hard to start something new with stacks of things that need to be edited in my field of vision. I'm getting there.

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  12. Sounds like you're organized now -- that's a start. And a little bit every day DEFINITELY adds up over time. Keep on keepin' on!

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  13. Agreed on something being better than nothing. A little bit every day DOES add up! Glad you're getting a grip on organization...wish I could say the same ;)

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  14. Getting organized is a step in the right direction. Once you sit down and put the pencil to the paper, the words will start flowing.

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  15. I stopped in for the chocolate blogfest, but might be a little early. Yes, just take it one day at a time. That's all we can do.

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