01 May 2013

Everything Stinks Til It's Finished

That's right. I'm dropping Dr. Seuss quotes on you. Truth bombs!

So April was an up and down month. I know many of you were doing A to Z. (Jocelyn Rish, I'm looking at you and your contronyms. And your dogs, who modeled for you again this year. Wow. Just Wow.)  Still pissed at myself for not really seeming to be able to get going on buckling down to write or submit stories or be a smiley smiley cheery participant in This Creative Venture We Call Being a Writer, I decided the thing to do would be to up the stakes. I took on Camp NaNoWriMo, and decided I would meet the 50k challenge at a minimum.

For a while, I've been wanting to write a longer manuscript exploring the world I wrote about in one of my short stories, "The Last Nephew" (originally published in Issue One of One Buck Horror, available for slightly less than one buck). Weird shit happened to me in March that allowed me to finally figure out a cool way to tackle the story. Bombs away!

A few days into the month, I had to go on a rather strong antibiotic for reasons. Antibiotics kick the crap out of me. There was some kind of flu thing that followed. Words dribbled but did not flow. As of a week ago, I was a little over halfway to my goal. Then a couple of things happened that were lucky and serendipitous and helped me start to feel much more like the writer I want to be.

Physically, I started to feel normal again, which was key and helped clear my head. My story started to surprise me while still following the very loose outline I'd set up at the beginning of the month, which for me is a win/win. Then my good friend and writing comrade Chris Kelworth got into Odyssey, a fact that he sneaks into that blog post very stealthily. (If you're not familiar with Odyssey, check it out. This is a big deal.) I was super chuffed for him, so the mood of the month shifted from uggghhh to yay!

The super big shift happened when a bunch of writers from Hamilton got together and Chris shared a bit about the Odyssey schedule. It puts the "intense" in "intensive." I ended up thinking a lot about how much time I typically spend on writing, how much time I could squeeze into my schedule, and had a talk with myself about whether I really want this. (I do want it.) Somehow, all of that added up to a much better sense of focus than I've been able to muster for a while. Sometimes it's all about the remembering, you know?

Anyway, now that the first 50k is written I figure I've got another 30k to go on this book, and I'm hoping to thrash that out fairly fast, to keep the momentum I've got going now, and before my brains start dribbling out my ears.

What about you guys? Have any of you ever managed to flip the creative switch when you were in a slump?


Andrew Leon said...

No slumps, yet. Too much on my plate all the time to slump, I think.
I'm just hoping not to crash.

Jocelyn Rish said...

Awww, you should see me grinning like a loon about the shoutout. Thank you - it's very much appreciated.

Sorry to hear you've been under the weather. But hooray for you for managing to meet your goal anyway!

I feel like I'm in a constant slump. Heck, even the A to Z challenge was just a way to 'productively' procrastinate working on my WIP. Just like it was last year for the very same manuscript. Ugh! I need to finish editing it already!

Hope the rest of your writing goes well as you finish up the story!

mooderino said...

I have to crawl through the slumps and then try to ride the wave when it comes, which it always does (eventually).


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Trying to crawl out from under the month of April! Wiped out from the A-Z Challenge but managed to keep a hand in my stories and the novel. Glad you got out of the slump and are feeling better! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't realize that my good news was the spark that propelled you on your amazing push to finish 50k for Camp Nano! I'm pleased and honored to hear it! :)

I'm not sure if I can think of a time when I pushed into overdrive and turned the creative corner like that; most of my recent creative victories have been the result of lots of prior planning and pep talks, and setting a steady pace from the outset. (Is it possible that I just haven't hit a big creative slump in a long time now? Hmm...)

Elizabeth Twist said...

@Andrew: perhaps you're just a non-slumper.

@Jocelyn: I know the constant slump feeling. Related: being either in a slump or feeling like you're headed for one.

@mood: I am also a surfer.

@Madeline: Congrats on finishing A-Z and continuing to do creative stuff. Awesome.

@Chris: It did. That news and the accompanying write-in really gave me a boost.

Briane said...

I've never had a slump. If anything, I don't get enough time to write. I've got this superhuge list of ideas for posts and stories, and it grows and grows.

Pre-cell phones, I used to have what I called an "ideas notebook," that I'd keep with me and write down ideas in it. That got filled up and sat on my dresser, taunting me with how little I actually wrote and all those ideas began to gnaw away at me.

"I should write them," I thought. "I should write more," I thought.

But I've got a job, and I want to play Imaginext Dinosaurs with my little ones and I need to help the older ones move and go to their weddings and I watch a new movie every Sunday and I want to read, and so I never wrote as much as I probably could, and one day, I took that Ideas Notebook with all its ideas and I thought:

"If you're any good, IDEAS, you will come back to me when I have time."

Then I threw it away.

Now I just keep notes on my cell phone, and delete them from time to time, because if the ideas are any good, they'll be there when I have time.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Briane, I think the venerable Stephen King once came out against keeping an ideas notebook, in that he figures that the strongest and best ideas will survive long enough for you to write them. That sounds right to me.