Friday, December 7, 2007

I'm Back! Time to get back into that Weekend Workout

Yes, I'm moved into my new home (not unpacked, mind you, that happens later) and although we did end up moving during a snowstorm with slick streets and sidewalks, I am happy to announce that there were no overnight hospitalizations and only one broken jar (that we know of so far).

And my Internet is up again! It only took 6 days for Telus to get it running properly! Thank you Mr. Telus man for coming to my house and fixing it!

I would also like to extend thank yous to the random friends who appeared out of nowhere to help and to all the coffee shops around town with Internet access... without which I would have been unable to perform the duties of my new job this week.

For this weekend's workout, I wanted to keep it simple. The holidays are approaching and creative time is minimal. I haven't written in over 10 days and it's making me a bit anxious. So, that's the theme of this post:

HOW TO GET BACK INTO YOUR WRITING AFTER A LEAVE OF ABSENCE

I always recommend writing every day because it keeps the creative "faucet" from freezing up, it keeps material fresh in your mind, and it's easier to keep a commitment to something you do every day. If you tell yourself you have to write every day, you'll more likely write than if you tell yourself you're going to write 3 days per week. Trust me on this one.

But life happens and sometimes our time gets sucked up by other things (births, deaths, metaphoric and literal). When we decide it's time to get back, it's challenging.

Here are a few things I'm going to do to get myself restarted. You can use them whether you've been away for 24 hours or 24 weeks.

1) Be kind to yourself for the missed time. Guilt is useless. Getting upset with yourself is useless. Just be grateful for the fresh jump back in.

2) Decide what you're going to work on (in my case, my 2nd novel and I'm about 3/4 done) and how much time you're going to work on it. Try for at least 45 minutes, because after being away, you may need extra time to get back into it.

3) Review where you left off. Read the last 10 pages if you need to. DON'T edit what you've written so far (unless you are done with the first draft and ready to edit). You'll get focused on editing and not moving forward.

4) Set your timer for 5-7 minutes. Using the start line: When I left off, my protagonist was...

Write for the full time (by HAND), do not edit, do not cross off, do not stop. Just keep writing and see where it takes you.

5) Set your timer for 7-10 minutes. This time, write spontaneously starting with the line: In the next scene, my protagonist must...

Again, write by hand without stopping.

6) Before you write your scene, try one more spontaneous writing exercise, choosing one of the following for your start lines and writing for 7-10 minutes:

This scene moves the story forward because...
This scene reveals the fact that...
My antagonist appears in this scene to...
My protagonist's / antagonist's goal in this scene is to...
In this scene, the secret is...
The BIG MOMENT in this scene happens when..

7) Read what you have written, circle "hot" words and relevant phrases. Pull stuff you want to use. Then, WRITE YOUR SCENE!

Have a great weekend!

6 comments:

Linda R. Moore said...

Cool post! I know what you mean--sometimes half the battle is "showing up at the page". I've found that blogging helps, and so does telling myself that I don't *have* to write a bunch of articles for every day if I don't want.

:)

http://www.ravensroads.com

artpredator said...

yep yep yep

hey you better ride the train this week--missing you!

so much i may be getting on a real train and heading north for christmas! where will you be for NYear's eve???

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Thanks Linda. Yup, just coming back to the page is challenging after an absence.

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Hey Predator,

I'll see what I can do tonight... I'm up to my elbows in unpacked boxes and paint cans. And an electrician has just ripped open our kitchen.

Seems the previous owner's brother-in-law did the electrical when they put in the upstairs kitchen. I kid you not, he actually used extension cords in the walls and drywalled over single wires. Thank god we didn't drive any nails or screws into the wall... ZAP!

Vicki said...

You're back!!! I'm so glad you're in the house and although you have boxes to unpack your in.

Moving in a snowstorm. That must have been tough. Extension cords in the wall??? OMG, that could have been a very bad deal if you'd hung pictures.

The post is great and I'll be using it once I'm finished with edits. I need to have the baby polished and out the door to a couple of requested agents sometime in January. :)

WhooHoo, really glad you're back!!

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Hi Vicki, I've missed y'all, too. My postings still may be a bit sporadic as we settle in.

Congrats on the requests! Very cool.