the how of writing · writing

write…even when you’d rather not

I didn’t feel like writing anything today.  I felt tired and overwhelmed and a bit wrung out.  In fact, I still don’t feel like writing.

When I was younger, I would have sat back and waited for “inspiration” to strike, something that might have taken months.  I think I’ve almost completely broken that habit.  Proof?  Today, even though I’d rather be anywhere else, I sat down in front of my computer to write out the one page summary for the sequel to the novel I just finished (I figure at the rate I get words down on paper I should have it done by the time the first one has been out a full year…best to start now).  I set my timer for 15 minutes and told myself I’d do something else when it went off.  In that quarter of an hour I managed to get a few paragraphs outlining the plot down.  I kept my promise, cleaned up the house a bit, took care of the kids, and went back to writing even though I still didn’t feel like it.  At least, I thought, I started.  Might as well finish.

Then, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to fit it all on one page (thank you summary for the publisher that I never sent).  I tried the same trick as before, trying to sound as if I were writing something for a book jacket instead of a “one page summary”.  It fit.  And in the process, I discovered things about these new characters I hadn’t realized before, including a few twists in the plot that hadn’t occurred to me until now.  One of those twists happens to be big and will add a very real tension/conflict to the story that had been lacking, not to mention add depth to the characters involved.

I’m really getting excited about this story.  I still don’t feel like doing the work of writing, but my imagination is engaged.  The rest of me will follow soon enough.

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