Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Before I go to bed

Over the years, I've come up with a couple tricks to facilitate good working habits. One of them is to get clear the night before a writing day what I intend to work on the next day. The reason this has been crucial is that for me if I'm going to create new work, it's best to do that first thing in the morning before I really think too hard about anything else. And planning the work--thinking about the work--just trying to decide what scene I should work on takes enough intellectual energy that I don't feel like I'm starting fresh once I do start drafting. Making that decision the previous day--ideally at the end of the previous day's work--helps me get that fresh start.

Over the last year and a half (how I hate realizing it's been that long) I've often slacked off on this habit, because it's become less necessary at times. I've built up more momentum and self confidence that I could arrive at the writing table with a less conscious plan and find my way into the work more easily.

But it's time to revive the habit, especially considering what I observed yesterday about moving from a space of analysis to a space of creativity--of digging in and making a mess. I need to do that when I'm fresh and allowed the rest of the world and my own OCD thought patterns to start to attach little fur balls to my mind. I can't count on just finding the right place to dig. In fact, today I didn't and ended up wasting the morning tinkering at the sentence level. So I'm ending the morning by identifying the very lines--in two different episodes in Chapter 1--where the story is thin and will benefit from the clarity that will come out of more development. Tomorrow, I'll start with the first of those and hopefully have the energy to work on both of them in one day. Certainly in two.

And in the future, I'll have a similar plans for each of the chapters, telling myself each day, "Tomorrow I will dig here."

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