Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On the Road Again

By April Moore

Last month, my sixteen-year-old son was in his first fender bender. Fortunately, it wasn't his fault. Nevertheless, it left some damage to his car. Nothing that can't be fixed and/or replaced.

Recently, I slowed down with my writing, got rear ended, and mowed over by an annoying driver named Procrastination. I wish I could say it wasn't my fault.  I had been paying too close attention to everything except the road in front of me. Unfortunately, I can't take my beat up manuscript to the repair shop and have the experts smooth out the bumps and tack on a shiny, new beginning. (And while they're at it, fill it up with some high-octane fuel.)

Nope, that's my job.

If you're not paying attention to the writing road in front of you, it's easy to get detoured straight into a dead end. Instead of focusing on my current work-in-progress, I let it fall to the wayside and I sort of lost my way. I was lucky, however, to have had the NCW retreat to get me back on track. I wrote 10,000 words and got the manuscript on the road again. (Fitting, since the story is about a roadtrip . . . hmmm.)

If you're running into roadblocks with your current project and you can't escape to a quiet writing retreat, there's still plenty you can do to jump start a dead manuscript:

  • Force yourself to get away, even for a day, with your story and fall in love with it again.
  • Create a writing schedule and stick to it, even if it's only thirty or sixty minutes a day. This is especially helpful if you pair up with a friend and meet once a week to discuss each other's project. It's motivating to have someone keeping you accountable.
  • If you can't meet with a writing pal, send it over email and schedule a phone chat.
  • Try writing something else for a while to spark the creativity. (It's like driving a rental car while yours is in the shop; you'll need a vehicle, right?)

When your manuscript crashes, don't leave it on the side of the road. You may have to throw away some of the pieces, but that's okay; you can put shiny, new replacement parts on. These things happen, so don't beat yourself up over them. (I promise, you won't get a ticket.)

How do you get your writing back on the road when you veer off?


Patricia Stoltey said...

I don't know the answer, April. I've swerved back and forth through 2015 like a drunk driver and have littered the road with pieces of fictional glass and metal. Luckily I didn't take out any human beings, but I sure have mutilated some manuscripts.

Abbie Taylor said...

My manuscript, My Ideal Partner, has been running smoothly for the past year. It's now completed, and I'm in the editing phase. So far, I've been an excellent driver, no dinks, no smashed headlights, no crumpled fenders. I wish I could say I was as good a driver in real life, but with my visual impairment...

April Moore said...

Pat and Abbie, you gals are great; your driving-themed comments are fantastic.

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