It's been a busy few weeks—months! Moving from one house to another took up a considerable amount of my time, brain power, and emotion. So does "nesting," as I try to make this new place feel like home. Twenty-three years in the same house bestows a lot of comfort and familiarity. As much as I love the new digs, I still miss the feel of the old one with its well-known walls, much-loved landscape, and years of memories.
Then came the wedding. The first one we planned spoiled me with nine entire months in which to prepare. This time we had two. This time I felt more… disconnected from the process (and a little more panicky!), but it involved an entirely different set of people who worked in an entirely different way. And you know what? Everything worked out and it was beautiful, too. And as a bonus, I got to bring home the biggest, most beautiful bouquet of roses I've ever had.
I spent the two days following the wedding feeling like I hadn't slept in a month, and then I had surgery. It went well (clearly, or I wouldn't be writing this!), but I am tired, tired, tired… I am supposed to be writing, but I've achieved pretty much zip. Nada. Zilch. Why? Because I'm so unorganized and because I've somehow managed to become stuck. Weirdly, when I am up to my eyeballs in cutting and gathering mules of tulle or hemming my new dress by hand because the darned sewing machine up and quit, I can think of all kinds of things to write about, scenes to develop, plot twists to include.
Then I have one entire quiet day to myself and do nothing but stare at the screen…
Even as I sit here typing this my gaze is wandering to the window, and it's such a gorgeous day outside! How many of those do I have left before the weather turns to miserable snow and freezing temperatures? Maybe I should go out and—
Wait, wait! Gotta finish this post, at least!
So where was I? Ah, yes, looking for inspiration and organization.
National Novel Writing Month is coming right up, and the good folks there always have a great store of inspiration to get writers pumped up. I got in on a TweetChat with author Scott Westerfeld and the on-going #NaNoPrep chat. Lots of good hints and lots of bubbling enthusiasm. I caught some! More resources and a schedule can be found here: NaNo Prep.
Joanna Penn and Joseph Michael did a webinar about using the fantastic Scrivener app for NaNoWriMo, but I'll confess that the side-by-side chat they had going at the same time distracted the heck out of me. Notwithstanding, I like both of them and you can always learn something useful from them. Check out Joanna's 8 Ways Scrivener Will Help You Become A Proficient Writer Overnight and keep an eye out for other webinars that Joe is presenting.
Armed with some new ideas for using Scrivener and some excitement for the upcoming November Word Dash, I discovered one more gem that I want to share with you: Getting Started Again: Writers' Tips for When You Get Stuck, by Mary Carroll Moore.
Over the years, despite thinking I was the only one, I've learned that almost everyone who writes, professional or not, faces a time-out occasionally.
Time-outs are just the creative self needing a break. Most are useful--they give us time for processing next steps in our writing. We can consider whether it's going where we want it to go, we can muse over a dilemma that needs heightening or a character that needs fleshing out. Every creative activity needs these kinds of time-outs, what some call "filling the well."
But getting started again--that's another story.
I've learned that time-outs can be OK, but it took a lot of practice to know when to get back to work. Otherwise, my time-out (stall-out) becomes procrastination. And we all know all about that.
Here are some easy-peasy tips from writer friends that saved me from turning time-outs into book abandonment.
How do you get unstuck when you're in a writing rut?
Are you participating in this years NaNoWriMo? Or are you a supporter lending your cheers from the sidelines?
Please come join me on Twitter as the preparations get refined and the real work starts!