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?