…but I put in some very consistent hours working on Sky last week, and, so far I’m doing even better this week. Two things happened to enable this (at least the observable things; the unobservable aspect, of course, being God’s grace in answering my prayers). Those two things were:
Number 1: I decided that I needed to get into the office earlier, (first thing in the morning, in fact) and as part of that, to go to bed earlier the night before. To get to bed earlier, I have decided to stop watching all the TV I’ve been watching, staying away, in particular from shows that end at 10pm. It’s helped that during this time most of my favorite shows were either not on or reruns. (And last week’s new Elementary, with both the insertion of the gay character and mention of Sherlock’s interest in yet another perversity, “prurient writing,” helped me decide that it was not worth spending any more precious time and mental “space” on.)
Number 2 : One of my biggest problems with actually working has been in trying to force myself to make decisions about the world or the next step in the narrative, and getting confused and overwhelmed to the point I do nothing. So this time I decided to simply read through all my collected notes and plans. I have a notebook already in progress (my world-builder’s “Bible”) where I keep lengthy writings on the characters, the world in a fair amount of detail, situations of conflict, plot ideas, etc., so the plan is to simply read through that, making no demands upon myself to decide anything or figure out anything , or even like it all. I only have to read it.
And perhaps jot down any notes or questions that come to mind.
Well that’s been VERY effective.
Why, you might ask, haven’t I done this before? Well, because, you see, I know all that stuff! (Even though some of it dates back to 2001, and much of the rest to 2005) It would be a waste of time! I need to get with the next step in the narrative, not fiddle around reading old notes about the world I’ve constructed for that narrative to unfold in.
Well, maybe…though in truth I’d forgotten A LOT. And what rereading it all has done, is give me a way to connect with the material that’s not threatening. If thoughts or questions occur — and they have been — I need only write them down, not Make a Decision! This way I can relax and just proceed, and now I’m finding that it’s not just easy to stay in the office, it’s hard to make myself stop! And it’s getting me inspired again.
Like, when I read through the character “Bio” I have on my hero Talmas, last week. I got very excited and wrote in my writing log, “Wow! I am jazzed! I LOVE this guy!” Two days later, having pulled out an old journal from when I had first taken up Sky after finishing The Enclave (because I was having problems similar to what I’m enduring now) I wrote, on Sept 8, 2009,
“Wow! The Lord kept nudging me to read my old notes and finally I gave in …. Oh, my. I’m in love with Talmas! He’s the center of this story… I am jazzed. This, I think is where I must focus.”
So, things are happening. Two weeks ago I averaged 4 hours a day. Last week my daily average was 4.6 hours (and this despite multiple very strong distractions). This week, though, I hope to do even better…
Karen, I shared your blog post with my ladies’ bible study group this morning. The context was ‘things that steal your dreams’. I used your example of how seemingly innocent activities (i.e. Elementary) can lead to wasting time instead of developing the talents God has given us. They were so blessed! The Lord has been urging me to clean up my own act in that regard so that I can concentrate on the dream He has put in my heart. I have allowed too many people/things/activities to steal me away from that dream. Writing is such a deep process, I find. And every time I sit down with my story, I find more secret nooks and crannies to explore or refine or flesh out. My biggest thing these days is sticking with it through the “middle” of the story in order to get to the fun part at the end.
You encourage me, and I appreciate your transparency in putting your own struggles out there for the rest of us to see, to learn from, and to pray for you.
P.S. I thought the very same thing about that last episode of Elementary. 🙂
How cool, Wendy! Thanks for sharing that. I love the way you put that… “writing is such a deep process.” Yes, and I’ve found that it needs a lot of thinking time, time that can be easily compromised if I try to cram too many other things, especially other people and their thoughts, into my life. And by that last I mean, blogs, email, articles, the news, TV shows, movies… even interacting with real live people. I think I have a Charles Dickens quote about that I might put up…