Friday, August 10, 2018

When Life Interrupts Writing

I'm not allowed to bend yet, so I sit on the
coffee table in my office when I work on my plot.
Since my last update, life has been a crazy haze of moves, surgeries, etc. (In the past six months, my husband had six emergency eye surgeries, I had three spine surgeries, and our son had cardio-thoracic surgery. Our daughter moved to Maine, where she’s a professor of mathematics at a college there, and our youngest son moved to grad school to study analytical chemistry.)

Despite all that, I’ve made progress on the plot structure of my work in progress. My cork board has gone from two notecards to thirty notecards, each representing a single scene/chapter. I'm somewhere between a half to two thirds done. I’d hoped to have completed the entire structure by now, but I’m telling myself to be thankful for what I’ve finished. Besides, every novel has its own time and way to be written. Sometimes I’ve started writing before I knew anything but the opening and closing scene. And another time, I plotted an entire novel on a two-hour drive. (I wasn’t driving, of course.)

The only advice I can give to writers who find that life keeps interrupting their work is to keep the story alive in your mind. If you can’t write, read. As often as you can, read over story notes, read over your plot outline, and scribble down any new scene that comes to mind—you can always toss it out later if it doesn’t work. That way, when you do have time to write, the embers of the story will be warm. And you won’t have to restart the fire of creativity.

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