Much writing agony lately. I had the file for A Gift of Grace open all day yesterday. I’d tweak a word or two, write a sentence, and then wander off to do something else. I’d force myself to come back to it — I had a whole day with nothing I needed to do but write, so I was serious about trying to use my time wisely — but I’d last five minutes and then drift off again.
A couple of times, the drifting off was literal. I wasn’t tired, I didn’t think, but somehow I wound up napping in the morning and then falling asleep maybe before 9. I say maybe, because I’m not really sure. I was awake and then… not. Anyway, I’m trying to tell myself that my subconscious needs to work on the story. Maybe that’s even true.
For once, my problem doesn’t seem to be entirely me being self-critical. I seem to have a ton of pieces, but it’s like they’re for a jigsaw puzzle that doesn’t quite fit together. Maybe it’s too many pieces, too much story? Maybe it’s a collection of scenes, minus a plot? I know how to get the answers to these questions — start writing and find out what I’ve got when I get there — but it’s tough for me to write when I don’t know what direction I’m headed in.
The nice thing is that this is resulting in being well-fed in a clean house with well-exercised dogs. Yesterday I did a load of laundry because I decided I had too many damp towels. I even folded it and put it all away, a job which really is a lot easier when you don’t start with huge piles.
This morning, I had no easy protein ready for breakfast. I could have made chicken soup — I made broth yesterday and have leftover roast chicken from Monday — but that felt like too much work. So I made some baked chicken thighs with artichokes, olives and lemon. It took about ten minutes to put together, but when I put it in the oven I realized I was going to have to wait an hour to eat. To kill some time, I made a garlic-lemon-rosemary-salt rub and prepped some pork chops for grilling later. Forty-five minutes to go on my chicken and I decided I was too hungry to wait, so I pulled out some cabbage slaw, red onion, cilantro & avocado, and topped it with some shrimp sauteed with garlic, lemon, and more cilantro. Yep, it’s not quite 9AM and I’ve cooked (mostly) three meals, adding up to probably eight meals total for me, because the chicken and pork chops will be multiple meals. So what I am going to do with the rest of my day?
Answer: write, drat it. Maybe I should write some random, out-of-order scenes and see what Grace and Noah have to tell me. It’s frustrating, though, to look at my word count and see that I really ought to have a solid third of a book by now, if only so much of it wasn’t destined to be scraped away into the garbage disposal. Someday I will be able to stop writing half a book in order to find out where the beginning is. Apparently it won’t be with this book, though.
Two weeks and R will be home for the summer. I am hoping that he and I can do some good summer projects (aka much needed painting jobs) while he’s home as well as have a fun little vacation, so I’m guessing that June is not going to be my most productive month ever. All the more reason to get a lot done now. I hope my subconscious got some thinking done while I was sleeping!
Judy, Judy, Judy said:
I suspect your process is not a lot different than other writers. Not the Jayne Krentz turn-out-3-good-books-a-year writers, but the ones who write one good book a year. I know that doesn’t help with your frustration.
I think I could be happy with one good book a year. Unfortunately, I don’t even seem to be able to pull that off consistently. It’s been over a year since I finished writing A Lonely Magic and I’m nowhere close to finishing my next book. Lots of half-started projects, alas!
Hi Sarah, if nothing else you are making me hungry. From all the blogs I have read, your progress is pretty standard. The trick seems to be to keep plugging away. Sigh, I have some photography to do for the website that I have been toying with for a couple of weeks. Maybe I should just do it instead of reading blogs 🙂
Yep, the secret is definitely persistence. And practice. It’s helpful to be sitting at a computer staring at the document when the words show up! Like having a camera in hand when the light is perfect — I hope you got your photography done!
First of all, stop being so hard on yourself! When the book is ready to be written, you’ll write it. Just take it one day at a time and when you’re ready to write it, you will! I’m really looking forward to reading it but take your time, okay? Enjoy your time with R!