Yo ho yo ho a writer’s life is not for me. A plotter’s life maybe. A planner and project manager, definitely.
But writing? I’m paralyzed. One of my New Year’s Resolution’s is to finish ONE book (and to focus on that ONE book til I’m done). I have six on my desk. No kidding. Six manuscripts in varying stages of completeness ranging from:
- “Nearly There” to,
- “Close Enough for Jazz” (if you play guitar, that may make sense… it’s a tuning joke); and my personal favourite,
- “Not Even, Stop Talking to Me.”
Fortunately, I know a lot of authors who have successfully got books out there, and I approached them for advice.
Ergo Coitus Neverhappenus
Advice from Those In The Know
Advice from romance author Sarah Hegger kinda scares me. I bet she can whip chalk:
- Stop uckfaying around and write the Hoover Dam thing.
Occasionally Sarah cusses. I think I bring out the worst in her.
Advice from romance and cozy mystery author Terri L Austin is very task-oriented:
- Hand-write notes, plan your day on those notes for one piece or section at a time. Make it manageable.
- Seriously Dude? Shut up about it. We have productive lives. Give your head a shake.
So when I get caught up in my own colon, I go to the most logical place for solace: WhatsApp. (You thought I was going to say Facebook right?) No. I need as-close-to-human contact by this point. I need a voice.
Romance author (you’ll see a trend in my friends) Linda Joyce leaves me notes on her process. Paranormal author Juliette Cross? She’s from the South and I could listen to her talk all day. Not sure what she’s said to me, recently, but it sounded great and she writes a treat.
So what did I do with all this week’s advice? Bupkes really. I was paralyzed by this point. So I did what I always do when I freak out and have no stress food in the house (why? because I ate it already): I called Paula Tiberius (my good twin, Terri’s my evil twin) instead and she pandered to me.
Paula, I implore, I’m narratively mired in the quick sand of ethos development and plot expansion, whatever shall I do?
As you can see, I’m paraphrasing. A thoughtful but irrelevant discussion follows. Paula actually doesn’t pander to me. What I love about Paula is sometimes she panders to me, and sometimes the two of us have completely side-by-side distinct discussions. By the way, she’s writing a book too. But she only has this week to finish it. So my ansgt-ridden messages are ill-timed to say the least.
For whatever reason, she doesn’t lose it with me.
The online personality test is for the book she’s writing. Turns out she has all personality types EXCEPT FOR neurotic.
This is why we are friends.
You know when you had to do group projects in school? Paula’s the one with whom you want to align yourself. She’s a Get-Shit-Done kinda woman.
I am too, but not today.
Right Tool for the Right Job
Then I put it all together: I’m a visual person, when I’m not running my mouth. I got the PowerPoint out. Yes, PPT can be terrible in the hands of the wrong person.
But for me, PPT really really works. And I took my Scrivener (by the way, I love Scrivener) notes and started the graphical notes. And suddenly, I felt better. My task grew manageable. So manageable, in fact, that I decided in lieu of writing today, I’d just blog about writing and stress eat these (but hey, only 30 grams):
Share the Joy
And I got back to Paula and shared the joy — despite what ditzy auto-correct said. Paula understood.
I took the headings from Scrivener and dropped them as appropriate into PowerPoint (as you can see from the featured image on this blog or click here if you are like me and hate scrolling). A nice quick visual to help me keep track of where I am, and what my end game is.
And now that my blog is done, back to work lest Sarah throw chalk at my head.