Thursday, August 26, 2010

Restarting the Train

That last post generated such great feedback, I'll go through it and put up our "findings" on Monday along with my nonspoilerish review of Mockingjay!

Uh huh. That's right. I got it. I'm reading it... It's actually taking longer than I expected to finish. More on that Monday.

But a big THANK YOU to everyone who dove in and commented on our last discussion. It's great to observe trends and hypothesize, but it's even more fun to get out there and ask real people why they're behaving in a particular way. Yes?

As for my previously scheduled post, I read this article in last week's Entertainment Weekly about how screenwriter James L. Brooks wanted Reese Witherspoon for this movie he was writing in 2005 (How Do You Know). Witherspoon was incredibly flattered and agreed at once to do it.

Brooks was just getting started on it and then got sidetracked writing the Simpsons movie. Five years later he went back to the Witherspoon script, and the article quoted him as saying he "felt like he was reading something a stranger had written." (paraphrase)

Ergh... I'm having the same response to the two WiPs I left in May when school let out for the summer.

I was 15,000 words into both of them, had really good momentum going, and then my two sweet little angels were suddenly home with me 24-7.

Now I've heard some writers can write while listening to music. I imagine those guys would also have no problem writing with two (very precious) little girls running and playing and asking for snacks and wanting to know when we're going to the pool and complaining that they're bored and you're always on the computer and she hit me...

I unfortunately am challenged that way. My writing train stopped this summer.

So it was back to school last week and the day came that I had dreamed about for three months--the day when I would ship my little dears off to the classroom and dive back into the cave to bust Prentiss out of her alien prison-farm and to help Ashley realize that handsome new guy was leading her down a dangerous, self-destructive path.

Problem: It hasn't happened.

I read that article, and I felt Brooks's pain. Who wrote these 15,000 words? What was she thinking would happen next? Why didn't she make better notes???

I'm trying to re-start the train and it's difficult.

JRM is so encouraging. He tells me to hang in there, school's just gotten back in, it takes a little bit to get the wheels turning again.

I'm feeling frightened and a touch of despair. I was so engrossed in both those WiPs last May. I could literally see these characters and I knew exactly what they were planning to do next...

Will I ever get them going again?

This is all simply Newton's laws, right? Inertia and all that. I mean, I know it's still in there. I can feel that fist of pent up words just waiting to come bursting out...

So until Monday, reader and writer friends~  Maybe the song would help.


Matthew MacNish said...

I believe that if the story was meant to be told it will find its way onto the page ... somehow.

I do wish you the best of luck with recovering that momentum though!

Carolyn Abiad said...

Hmm...I was just having a weird week myself. I do think it's the back to school thing, change in the rhythm and all. Pick an MS, read through the whole thing and try again next week.

Cruella Collett said...

I know exactly the feeling. It's been like this all the way with my thesis. I started it two years ago, and chapter two (the first I wrote, for some reason) that I wrote back then does not seem like it's been written by the same person as the one struggling with chapter five now. Things I now think of as obvious were foreign concepts to me back then. And I keep running into references in chapter two that I have no idea what even means now.

The good news is that is does get better (I know, because I've been through several train stops on the way). The train will start to move again. Maybe not at the same speed. Maybe not even on the same track. But it will move - and who knows, the new destination might be even more exciting than the original one?

Also - I have just started reading The Hunger Games. So many people have been talking about how awesome this series is, so I couldn't stay away much longer. So far it's perfect as an escape from the stress of "thesis completion meets life", the only problem is that it is too exciting to put down... Since I'm only at book one, though, I won't be reading your Monday post, methinks, since it would be hard not to include any spoilers from books one or two in a review of # 3. Right?

LTM said...

Thanks, Matt & Carolyn! Encouragement so appreciated~ I am clinging to that whole "getting into the new routine groove" as the solution. It's as much about discipline as anything else, yes?

@CC: Thanks to you, too! That's funny re: thesis. I guess you are learning all the time, so that does add to the level of difficulty...! As for my reviews, I try to keep them to my reaction to the book as opposed to plot summary, so I don't *think* there'll be any spoilitude.

At least I'm trying NOT to spoil. Unless my reaction spoils... ;p

Unknown said...

I'm experiencing something really strange as well. It's sort of annoying and frustrating to go through!

I can write to music, but only if the playlist is a perfect fit, anything else distracts me, the sound of a pen would bother me with two of my wips.

I'm in revisions and some days I love them (like yesterday) and the other days (like today) and they are a nightmare. I don't know what I'm doing, I think I'm overthinking but then maybe my husband is overthinking.

Ever feel like you're going to blow? Yeah, I'm so there.

RaShelle Workman said...

Hey Leigh - I understand the feeling. I going to give you some advice. You may want to reach through the screen and smack me, but here goes. Be prepared to write 5000-10,000 words of pure and utter crap. Just force yourself to write. And make someone read it and make them tell you they don't really get it and that it's probably crap. And then you'll look at those pages and go - Ah ha, this is exactly where I need to start. The words will start flowing and TaDA!!! You're back on track. At least that's how it worked for moi!!! LOL Good luck lovely!!!

LTM said...

@Jen: LOL! I think I'm thinking this is the end of a long, hot summer. Once that fall breeze hits... :D

@RaShell: I know that's the answer! I just HATE that I had such a good momentum going. I can still remember it. Oh, come back good momentum!!! ;p

no slaps, all good stuff. I got there after nonstop write write writing after all~

Thanks, guys <3

Jan Markley said...

Chuga Chuga choooooo! Fear is a great motivator - it will get you back to your wip.

Unknown said...

This has happened to me many times. Having two little ones around makes everything a crazy balancing act. The thing that usually works for me is to read it all over again until I see what I want to change or know which direction it should go. <--- doesn't outline

LTM said...

sigh. Always good to hear this happens to everyone, and you eventually DO end up back on the horse...

am I mixing metaphors?

@Jan: yep, it's true!
@Anne: that's exactly what I'm thinking I'll try. I don't outline, either, but I do like to make good notes when I have an idea for "what's coming." I don't know if that's the same. There are no headings in my notes... ;p

Morgan said...

I definitely have trouble re-starting the train, as you say. I hate looking back at a short story or manuscript I was so psyched about and then realizing I don't remember anything about it, and have no motivation to continue writing it. What helps me is having really specific inspirations for each piece I work on. These inspirations can be paintings, playlists, movie sets, whatever-- anything that gets you in the mood to write a particular story. Whenever you feel off-track, you can look back on them and get re-inspired. Try revisiting your original inspiration for these stories. Doing so might just put your train back in motion. =]

RaShelle Workman said...

Hey Leigh - I have an award for you on my blog. =D

LTM said...

@Morgan: You are SO right, girl! I find pictures to be so inspirational right now as opposed to music. Used to be the opposite... Problem: I didn't have anything for one of the WiPs. It was really a collection of ideas... But that's the one I made the best notes for. fingers crossed~

@RaShelle: No YOU Rock. Seriously. You did a Choose Or Die book. I'm like past impressed. ;p

RaShelle Workman said...

LOL - No. No. YOU rock!!!

CHOOSEORDIE is on its own blog for now. The guy who started it made a "book trailer" this for first one - PLANET STOWAWAY. I have my own cartoon head (mine isn't very purty) and the a trailer for the CHOOSEORDIE blog. He's also the graphic artistic who did my book cover.

Ex-pat Odessa said...

Idea: 1st, Re-read what you've written.
2nd, grab i-pod and go jogging - that seemed to help you before.
3rd, don't force it, if you got nothing, push the stories to the back of your mind, something will pop up in the middle of a mindless chore like laundry or grocery shopping.

Sitting in the park or at the mall and people watching could help too - who knows. I know when I go out to shoot photos, I seems to find really cool shots while listening to my tunes I've got stored on my phone-yes, mobile phone, no i-pod, I have massive storage space on my 'wanna be blackberry' phone by LG!!!

Anonymous said...

Took me time to read the whole article, the article is great but the comments bring more brainstorm ideas, thanks.

- Johnson