Since I’m on sabbatical for the day job, I’ve been trying to learn how to write full time.
I know that I’m a bit ahead of other writers just starting out, as I have worked at home for the day job for 13+ years. So the suddenly being home all the time hasn’t been a shock. I know how to be disciplined, so I can get stuff done during the day when there’s no one around.
However, writing full time is different than doing the day job. Though I’m mostly self-directed in the day job, the tasks are discrete.
Writing full time means: Writing. Then, more writing. And then, writing some more!
Normally, I’m pretty good at coming up with solutions for the “write more” part. When I’ve stopped writing, it also tends to be obvious why I’ve stopped. I’ve either pulled up, out of the character, or I’ve gotten too much into the big picture instead of what’s happening immediately before me. I just need to write the next line.
The problem with the current novel is that it’s written in the same style as Clockwork Kingdom. Which means that it’s written as short scenes-rarely more than 1000 words long-and with alternating characters.
When I get to the end of a scene, I have to figure out which is the next voice. Which part of the story should I move forward.
And this has been where I’ve been getting stuck. When I get to a break and I need to figure out the next voice.
I have lots of tricks for refinding inspiration. This week, I fell back on one of my oldest tricks:
Take a walk.
I know, I know! I have a deadline (self-imposed, but still. Deadline.) I have words I need to write! A daily word count that I’m really trying to make!
But. Standing there in front of the computer screen with nothing coming, no words, can be not just frustrating, but intimidating, after a while. The questions start to rise out of the mire that is your imagination. Am I writing the wrong book? Have I burned out as a writer? What am I doing here? What happens if nothing ever comes and I can’t finish the novel?
Nope. None of those little voices are actually worth listening to.
I just turned off my computer and walked away, up the street, going to the post office.
By the time I got a block, I had figured out not what the next scene should be, but what needed to happen three scenes from now.
By the time I’d walked two blocks, I’d finally figured out what the next scene should be.
By the time I was walking back, I was excited again by the book, by what I was writing about.
Every book is different. The process for every book will be different. This book seems to need a lot of short, focused sessions, followed by breaks that take me away from the computer. By doing that, I’ve managed to write more than 20,000 words on the new novel this week.
So what about you? When you feel as though you’ve hit that wall, where do you turn just for that quick jolt to get you moving again?