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Slow Starts

The Rich Writer: Slow Starts

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Slow Starts

After a madly productive last week, this week is feeling a bit slow. Take this morning: it's 10:18, and I've yet to pen a single word on my WIP. I keep succumbing to real-world distractions--phone calls, responding to emails, making appointments, renewing library books--all the two-minute tasks that can easily eat up an entire day.

The truth is, I'm feeling a bit agitated. Not stressed, exactly; I get stressed when I have problems looming with no plan of attack. But I've got the adrenaline rush that comes from thinking too much about all the items on my to-do list, and I'm finding it hard to sit down and focus.

So I'm doing as Beth suggested in response to my last post: I'm using the blog for a bit of warm-up writing. I'm here to promise you all that, as soon as this posts, I will plant my butt on my green sofa (I write at the sofa most days, where the dogs can curl up beside me), plop my notebook on my lap, reread the events that need to take shape next in my story, and start dreaming up the scene. Daydreaming is much less threatening, you see, than writing an official paragraph. I close my eyes and think about what my character sees, feels, tastes, smells, and hears, and then I make lists--on the left hand, "unofficial" page of my notebook, of course. Those lists usually spark a sentence of scene description or a snippet of dialog. Next thing I know, I'm usually scribbling away, describing the events unfolding inside my head. Soon I'll have a half dozen pages filled, check the time, and realize that I'm late for something...

It's my process :).

If that doesn't work, I'll have to bring out the heavy guns: others' great books. I just read Thirsty by M.T. Anderson last night, and man, that guy can teach me a thing or three about writing short, intense scenes. But more on that later--I have to go write!

:) Cheryl



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