Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mid-Month Update for July

I'm in between surgeries for my mom and soccer and performing arts season is on for my daughters. But hey, how cool is it that even though these activities eat up a big chunk of my week, I'm adapting thanks to my good old clipboard and a pack of sharpened pencils. No, I don't have any electronic devices to carry around with me. I don't have internet access when I'm on the go. And that means fewer distractions in order to write.

I recently re-read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, a classic how-to for writers and it's especially good at helping you get rid of blocks, inhibitions, and procrastination. You sit and you start writing. About anything and everything. The internal editor is not allowed to squawk over things like punctuation, plot holes, or grammar. You relax and let go for about half an hour and it's amazing how it frees you. You get in the zone faster.

Personally, I always predetermine to write about something regarding my book. It could be a place description, I might jump right into the middle of dialogue between two characters, or start describing a tense action scene. I don't write linearly, I just write what hits my brain first. And you know what, I've come up with some really good stuff. Stuff that needs editing of course, but I've discovered new angles to my characters' personalities, come up with unexpected ways to present what might be predictable plot material, and have harnessed raw emotions without worrying about how anyone else was going to interpret them.

The other plus to my current writing method and madness is that I'm not always in the same location when I write. That frees creativity too. I've loved getting outside more, especially when there are so many plant-based elements in my story. I find new inspiration every time I write outside.

So within the 1-3 hours I now get nearly every day to write like this, I'm churning out material faster than when I'd try to force myself to take a half-hour in front of my computer. Maybe it's because I've published one novel already; I just can't turn off the editor when I'm at my desk from all the editing I did with the first one. I was subject to feedback and rules and expectations for so long when I used my computer. New creativity became a chore, a Herculean task.

How much have I gotten done between the last update and today? My beginning's pretty solid, my ending is nearly written out, and I have a fair chunk here and there of what goes in the middle. My outline index card system has kept me on track and since I have a very old, basic rough draft already done, the new developments are easy to insert. I have chapter files created on my computer. After a week's gone by, I take a day to type up what I've written directly into those files. Then I'll tweak my outline if I need to.

Each book I write goes through a different process and I find it fascinating. Have you read Writing Down the Bones yet? If not, and you're struggling to even get started each time you sit down to write, maybe you should check the book out and see if it will help you too.