Monday, April 2, 2012

Taking a Break

Writing is a joy most of the time, when everything is going well, our characters are well defined and can speak for themselves, when the plot just falls into place and each scene is clearly defined in your mind. Then writing is a joy. But there are the other times, when just booting up the computer is hard work, knowing that you have to produce 1,000 or 2,000 or more words, when the characters stand aloof and unhelpful and the plot mocks you. Then panic reigns. You've got a deadline to get your work finished and in to the editor and you have to bring your story to a satisfying end. So what do you do?

Some resort to chocolate.(guilty) Some turn to alcohol, wine spritzers and the like or just go straight for the hard stuff. I'm not even mentioning marijuana,(it might be a boon!) There are some other things you can try. I sit down and outline, outline, and outline, the overall plot, each chapter as I get ready to write and even every scene. I rethink my characters. In short, I change from a seat of the pants writer to planning every detail. If that doesn't work, then I'm writing the wrong book.

But there is one other thing I've found works. Take a vacation!! When you've been pushing yourself day after day and the words don't flow anymore, get away from the computer for a day or two. Allow yourself to think about something else. Yeah, I know our story is still there in the back of the mind, but our minds are funny things. They solve problems while we're busy eating a quart of our favorite ice cream or making brownies when the only one around to eat them is you, or binging on grilled asparagus (my favorite)! Most times, there's no ahah moment when the light bulb goes on, there's just a quiet time in your mind, when you belch from the ice cream, brownies and asparagus when you think, that could work. Be calm! Stay calm!

You've found your groove again and you can go back to the computer and meet your deadline and feel satisfied with what you've produced, or at least, be grateful that you have something to send out. Hey, I didn't say it was a perfect world. I didn't promise you golden prose, just that if you take a break from the pressure that we as writers exert over ourselves, you get the mojo going again. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

1 comment:

Patricia Kiyono said...

Great advice. I do a lot of brainstorming when I'm stuck, but then sometimes the ideas are there and the words aren't. So maybe I should try the outlining. Or the vacation. Usually my "vacations" last a few hours, or even minutes. Guess it's time to start the two day break.

Thanks for posting.