Saturday, July 6, 2013

Momentum

by
Scott D. Parker

For any project we writers write, there's always that moment when you reach a certain point in your story and momentum takes over. I think there are actually more than one spot. It's at the beginning, of course, when you are all excited about this new tale and you are bursting with enthusiasm. There is also the end one where all the events of the story have built to the big giant conclusion.
But what about the middle ground, that iffy time after the one-quarter or one-third mark when the long slog kicks in? That part is where many writers--this one included--often falter. It's happned to me in the past and it has been my greatest challenge. So far this summer, with this new work ethic, it is a challenge I'm overcoming.
How do I know? Well,  for one, I'm a chronological writer. Once I settle on a story, I write it from beginning to end and I don't jump around. Some authors do that--and, admittedly, it's easier for non-fiction--but I don't. I like to see the little nuances come up as I move forward. It allows me and the story to breathe. As such, if there are scenes I'm looking forward to writing, I have to wait until I get there. In this current story, I'm at one of those points. I have a central conceit in this story and, after actual months of waiting--and about a month of current writing--I'm finally there. And it feels great to be here.
Another way I know I'm on a right track for a story is when I stop wanting to read other people's material in favor of reading my own. Now, in order for me to 'read' my stuff, I need to write it. I write in the mornings so, I tell myself, I can leave the evenings for other reading. But, the deeper I get into my own story, the more I want to read it. So, little by little, I'm actually getting two writing sessions in per day. That tells me something.
The promise of favorite scenes. For nearly a month now of daily work on this book, I've been waiting to get to the scenes I wrote Thursday and Friday. By the time this post goes live, I'll have written the next scene on Saturday morning. It's a nice reward to finally be here, living in the scenes I've only imagined in my head for a long, long time.
Then there's this one and it is a direct result of me keeping statistics on my writing. I'm really loving the current novel, but other influences are spurring me on to write some short stories. But when I look at my analytics and my writing streak, I don't want to break the novel-writing streak (worked on the novel every day since 9 June). There's but one of two ways to overcome that: have more than one writing session a day with one devoted to the novel and another devoted to short stories. Not bad, but then the evening session with the short stories will always have the longing for the novel.
Well, that leaves only one alternative: finish the novel, as soon as possible. That, more than anything, is what is driving me this week. I know I'll have to re-read this thing and, revise/edit, revise/edit, and revise/edit over and over, but I'll be doing that on a *finished manuscript.* And it was the realization that, if I bear down and hyperfocus on the novel for the next month, I can have a completed manuscript by mid-August, just in time for my son's return to school (and the elimination of my wonderful 6am writing time).
So, there it is. Done by August. Given the variances of life, I can settle on Done by Labor Day. Barring something dramatic, I see no reason why that can't be accomplished.
That, my friends, is a great feeling. And a fantastic piece of motivation.

What types of motivation drives y'all?

2 comments:

Dana King said...

I'm much like you. I write chronologically, and I have a pre-determined amount of ground to cover each day. (I can do more, but not less.) I work from an outline, so I hav an idea of what's coming, but not how I'm going to tell it.

The Beloved Spouse makes me a calendar each year, where I can note what each day's output must be. (Among other things.) What seems like too much of an undertaking at first--I tend to focus on how much remains to be written--becomes much easier to handle when I can look back through the calendar and see the progress that has been made. That, as much as anything, is what keeps me going.

Scott Parker said...

Dana, I'd like to see a photo of that calendar. Right now, I'm just using a Google Drive spreadsheet. I have not, to date, tried writing with a pre-determined set of material. Mostly, I'm writing a chapter or two a day. I spent some time today mapping out the middle section (as I had a jumble of ideas banging around my head).