Friday, December 23, 2011

Scheduling the Muse

Knowing that my commitment to the FamilySearch mission is coming to an end January 4th, I have been gearing up for resuming a more frequent writing schedule--a real schedule, not just  a when-the-muse-strikes kind of schedule. Conventional wisdom says I should write 40 hours a week, just like a real job. I know the realities of my life, and that will not work. I have 11-12 days a month blocked out in January and February for writing. I will re-evaluate after that.

Lately, my writing has been sporadic, almost non-existent. It often takes place for 4-5 hours in the middle of the night after I try to get to sleep and can't. Sometimes when I settle down in my dark, quiet room and get all warm and comfy, my imagination fires up, drills down to one little incident in the story and then kicks into double-time putting it all together in my head. Since I know sleep is not an option at that point, I usually decide I might as well get up and write.

I probably will continue to do that, but in addition, I will have the schedule.

In Family Secret, I am focusing on the chapter about Carp's Vietnam War experiences, which are based largely upon of those of my husband. Very gripping incidences. This chapter actually became a writer's block for me. I have wanted to write it for many months. I kept putting it off, but not because I did not  know what I wanted to write. I felt overwhelmed and did not know where to start. In addition to the emotional impact, there is enough information on the Vietnam War for a whole book instead of a segment of a book. I kept wanting to do more research instead of just planting my seat in the sofa, parking the laptop on my lap and writing the segment.

Most chapters, I start at the beginning and, over the course of days or weeks, I work it until the end. With this one, I have found it better to get my thought processes focused on an incident and then type up only that incident. Hence, the middle-of-the-night writing episodes. I will worry about what order they go in and how to tie them together later.

Now I have decided to "eat that elephant one bite at a time", I find I am finally making progress on this chapter.