Thursday, November 3, 2011
I’m stuck for a topic today. This is normal. I just sent out a manuscript this week and it takes me a couple of days to get revved up again. I’ve been using the time to rake leaves and get caught up on the housework. When’s the last time I vacuumed the house? I can’t even remember.
There’s no lack of ideas, fortunately. I’ve got the sequel to the book I just sent out and a pile of other stuff. Trouble is, it’s logjammed in my head. They’re all clamoring equally for attention; nothing’s standing out. At some point one of them will scream more loudly than the others and that’s the one I’ll work on. When will that happen? No telling. It better not take too long, because I don’t want to go a year between submissions again. The one I just sent out clocked in at 86000 words. I think I’ll listen for a novella to start yapping this time.
While I’m waiting, there are tons of things I can do to get the juices flowing again. Reading works. Nothing sparks ambition like a monumentally awful novel that makes you go, “A monkey with a typewriter could do better than this.” Believe it or not, TV can be your friend. My favorite show sparked that trilogy I’m working on, and to some extent two other books I may get around to eventually. Sometimes it helps to just get outside and move around a bit. What’s that big, bright thing up in the sky? How long has it been there? What’s it called when you’re not seated in front of a keyboard? Standing upright, yeah.
To keep the writing muscle limber, I have a disturbingly-large number of spiral notebooks and pens piled up beside my bed. I don’t know how many stories I’ve started and abandoned in these things. If I want to blow off a couple of days, I can do an inventory. One notebook I keep reserved for quickie scenes, descriptions and ideas, so I can tell myself I wrote today. Some of those could probably be sold as flash fiction, or developed into stories. Again, I have to wait for one to poke its head above the herd. I’ve tried to force writing in the past. The results weren’t pretty, folks.
If all else fails, just sit your butt down and have at it. Don’t worry about plot, characters, or having it make sense. Gag your inner editor, tie her up and stick her in the corner and let your imagination go to town. You might end up throwing out every page you produced at the end of the day, but so what? You wrote. That’s what matters.
See, it worked. I just wrote a blog entry. I’m good for another week. Now, about that vacuuming …