Monday, January 23, 2006


Recently someone asked how to get back into writing harness after taking some time off. I had some suggestions, and Joyce asked if I'd post it here. So here it is.

Write First.

I tend to give this advice a lot. Figure out when you have time that can be set aside for writing. If your kids are little, it may be naptime. If you have a full time dayjob, it may be after dinner. If you've finally sent your youngest off to school, it's going to be the minute they walk out the door. (I just sent my youngest off to college--and oh the peace and quiet--though he did leave the electric guitar behind...but it's quiet too when he's not here.)

Anyway, figure out when YOUR time is, and when it gets here, Write First.

Leave those toys in the middle of the floor. The kids can pick them up when they get home. (Okay, you may have to crack the whip a little, but it's good for them.) Leave the supper dishes in the sink till morning, or make the kids do them. If you have to wash clothes or go naked the next day, throw a load in the washer and sit down to write while it's washing. I've been lucky enough to be able to write full time the past 6 years (since before I sold), and I discovered very quickly that if I do not sit down to write shortly after I do my hair (I simply cannot do much of anything worthwhile if I don't fix my hair--bad (neglected) hair day = bad writing day), then I usually don't get any writing at all done that day. (I can put laundry in the washer, and dishes in the dishwasher, but that's it.) If I don't Write First, I generally don't write at all. (When I had a day job, I wrote after dinner. I didn't watch TV for years...)

Now, as for how to get back into the story. Go back and read it. From the very beginning, if you have to. If you don't have much written, read over your notes. Look back to discover what it was that excited you about it. I took a 3 week break from this !@#(*!&! book I'm trying to finish (In the next 2 weeks! and I (oh so foolishly) thought I was ahead of schedule) over the holidays, (The Cold from Heck that turned into The Cold That Wouldn't Go Away caused its own set of problems) and had to get my brain back into the story. I went back a couple of chapters' worth and read, so I could remember what had happened already and figure out where I was and where I needed to go next. I write from beginning to end, so I still have the end left. If that still doesn't get you where you want to be, you might try journaling about it, in longhand. Write down what bothers you about it. What you think you want to happen. What you like about the story. Somewhere in there, even if you don't find what excited you about the story to begin with, you might find something new that excites you, and you can fly with that.

Best of luck, and congratulations for making your laborious way through all that heavy verbiage. (And yes, I know I ought to be at least typing the silly book into the computer, if I'm not going to make new stuff up for it...)

I think I jinxed myself by naming it The Eternal Rose.

Gail (who wrote 31 pages last week, and STILL hasn't found the end)


SpecRom Joyce said...

But you finished it today!

Congrats, Gail!

Gail Dayton said...

Yes, I did finish it on Tuesday. Now I just have to cut 114 extraneous pages out of it. (Yes, that's why it took me so long to finish--I am freakishly longwinded.)

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