I’ve been in Life Lock lately. Life is so intense and busy (not in a bad way except for the sciatica) that I have no time to write. (Also, I cut my hair short and it now takes 45 minutes to blow dry into some semblance of hair style. I’m so worn out after fighting with the hairdryer I can’t write.) I tell myself that this is what life is about: living, (not how bad your hair is.) Writing is in your mind—it’s not real. There’s some truth to that, but after awhile, I get off kilter when I don’t write. I get so far away from my Self, so into an outer orbit away from my center, that I lose myself.
Life is quieting down for me a bit (There’s been no life changing moves, trips of a life time, no bouts of the flu) and I’m only going to the chiropractor twice a week now so the Writing Muse felt it was safe to pay me a visit. I started working on the second chapter of a book I started 15 years ago.
Here’s my process:
First came the thinking. I’ve been thinking that I’m really a short story writer, not a novelist. (But it may be that I am a bit ADD or just lazy) But I have noticed that many novels I’ve read recently are just short stories (with the same characters) grouped together. I decided I could do that. So I went through the short stories I’ve written, starting with the ones published. I needed a main character that I could relate to and cared enough about to spend sustained time together. There were two who stood out and I decided to combine them. One of my favorites was a hair stylist—I don’t know enough about hair to keep that up, but another favorite was a school psychologist. I know enough about that to keep it real. It’s true about writing what you know.
If I were a linear person, I probably would have done a character chart on her. But, I’m more random abstract so I’m letting her evolve. I don’t even know her name yet. I know she’s 50ish and has two children, and a baby granddaughter. Her ex-husband has a two-year-old with his present wife, the former office manager of his dental practice. (After writing this, I think I will do some mini character charts.)
I have a basic idea of what I want to have happen but I know me—I need to create a plot outline pretty soon. Plotting is a weakness of mine. Give me a story and I’m good to go. Without a plot line I can start to ramble.
I’m also seeing that I can’t do all of this right on the computer. I’m getting my notebook out so I can do some sketching in it. Probably will do the character charts and plot outline there, as well as write down anything random that comes to me. Once it’s written, I can work with it.
You’ll think this is crazy, but when I was stretching my back this morning, I started talking out part of the story aloud. This gave me the idea to use Pages with the recorder—verbalize it into the App, which will put it in written form. Being flexible in my writing is as important as it is in my back.
So this is where I am. I wanted to share my progress with you.
Also, I want to thank Carol Mann for reminding me to write. Thanks for the pat on the back.
Now, here’s my pat on your back if you’ve gotten overwhelmed or stalled or have difficulty eking out time for yourself. One step at a time. You can do it!