I started the week off by rereading my most recent draft of Southern Discomfort. Once I was up to speed, I figured I’d press on, either writing from there or outlining from there.
Instead, my mind just locked up. Okay, fine, I’d just started back into the book after what, three-four months away, it’s not really surprising the words don’t flow. But when I looked at the book again, today, my mind still locked up. It just didn’t want to go forward. I became pretty sure I had a kind of mental gridlock between impulse A—keep going and finish—and impulse B—go back and start over, fixing the stuff I already know is a problem. Some of the problems were big enough I really didn’t want to go on without correcting them (others, like providing an explanation for the unseelie court at least three different times, are easy to fix). But it was entirely possible I could go back, start over and then wind up in the same “hmm, this really needs fixing” situation midway through the book, go back, start over … It’s been my problem with finishing Brain From Outer Space, for instance.
So around 11 am today, I tried a kind of Hail Mary! play: starting at the current endpoint, I went back to the previous draft and transferred all the remaining chapters to my current draft. Which is kind of pointless, because it guarantees nothing about that part of the book is improved or changed at all. Yet somehow … it worked. I sat down and started thinking about the next draft, and ideas seemed to flow. This is a very good sign. Next, I take the ideas and draw up a detailed outline for the next phase (I’m a “pantser” by nature but after a couple of drafts, I have enough understanding of the story to outline). And I work on that until I’m satisfied it will hold up when I actually start writing. Not that I won’t make changes (I always do) but I don’t want any “Oh, this approach doesn’t work after all” reactions at midpoint. So it will be a while before I know for sure if I made the right call. But not too long, the way my schedule is now I should have the next draft done by the end of September.
In other writing news:
•I redrafted The Schloss and the Switchblade using the feedback provided by my writing group.
•I sent in two shorts to various markets.
•I submitted my new And column.
•I finished the taxes (as I’m self-employed, that does count as writing work).
•I submitted an outline for a module for D3’s Tangent line of games and got the go-ahead to do the full project.
I made my 40 hours, though with a bit of fudging (I counted reading time for the next Is Our Writers Learning? post). Next week I should be able to do it without the fudging. I’m also adjusting my schedule to take into account that morning is my peak time: less creative stuff such as research and query letters in the afternoon, as much as possible (the way my schedule works out I have slightly more afternoon than morning time).
The dogs have not been as big a problem as anticipated. Plushie sometimes became demanding but overall he and Trixie were pretty good.
I’m still debating whether I prefer the Pomodoro approach to the 45/15 method of taking breaks (as I mentioned Wednesday). I’ll probably keep experimenting as both seem to be doable. Or I may consider what I’m doing on breaks: 45/15 works much better for cleaning the bathroom on breaks that five minute pauses.
(Cover chosen for the obvious time symbolism. Art by Gil Kane, all rights to current holder).