Saturday, January 10, 2015

Finding the Way Through the “Fog”

Scott D. Parker

I always enjoy when two unrelated events converge in my mind.

I’m plugging away on Book 2015.01 for the year. No, I haven’t broken my resolution to write every day. It’s been a little slow this week, I’ll be honest. This was my first week back to the day job and the time constraints that comes with that. Waking up at 5am is no longer an issue. Heck, twice this week, I woke ahead of my alarm.

But the story itself had it’s first hurtle. You see, I opened this tale with an action sequence. It’s what I had planned out on New Year’s Day and I wrote continuously and with gusto up until the sequence finished. And then I hit a slow part, a part I hadn’t fully mapped out and I slowed. Yup, I told myself, you’ve finally caught up to “I’ll figure it out later.” Well, it’s later.

The two things that converged this week are this. One, over at the Kobo Writing Life blog, David Farland was interviewed. I had just finished reading his Million Dollar Outlines book. When asked about writer’s block, Farland said, in part, “But other times, writer’s block simply comes because you can’t see your way through the story. You haven’t plotted the tale out in enough detail.” It served to remind me that I read his book for a reason and then promptly didn’t follow through.

The second thing was when I was talking with a co-worker about her writing. I told her that the biggest thing that helped me get out of my then writing rut and back into a regular writing habit was keeping daily track of my word count. I showed her my spreadsheet that I’ve kept since 2013 and showed her my 2013 numbers. In a four month stretch, from June through September, I wrote 34,000, 72,000, 53,000, and 50,000 words in those respective months. Wow, I thought, impressed with myself, I wonder how I did that? It’s because you had a map and you knew where you were going. All you had to do with get to the keyboard and get it down.

Both things combined to remind me that I’m an outliner. I’m a map follower. I need the roadmap to be the most efficient writer. Sure, I can meander, but with the time limitations, that doesn’t work for me. I need to be as productive as I can with my time.

Also, an essay by Kristine Kathryn Rusch about “churning” out the words and that not being a bad thing also inspired me to do what I do best: map and follow.

That’s my goal this week. What are your weekly goals?

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