Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

After Tuesday's ballet class and yesterday's physical therapy session, I think every muscle in my body is now sore and quivering. I guess I wasn't keeping up with ballet exercises as much as I thought over the summer. It really didn't help that there was a lawn crew whose truck and trailer were parked in front of my driveway in such a way that it took a lot of fancy maneuvering, backing up and moving forward in tiny increments for me to get into my garage on my way home from therapy, and the soreness in my legs kicked in about then when I was having to really work the clutch pedal. To make matters worse, the crew just watched me do this without even offering to move their truck out of the way, and they stopped their lawn work to watch me. Plus, the truck was parked in a fire lane, so they weren't even legally parked. They were in the wrong and finding amusement in me having to cope with their violation.

I thought I was going to start writing the new book yesterday, until I realized that I didn't know where it began. I knew what would happen in the opening scene, but I didn't know where that scene started. I'm a big believer in starting with action, but it helps to have at least a moment to set the stage before the action starts, and I needed to think about what my narrator would be seeing, doing and thinking when the action kicked in. It took a couple of hours and some pen-and-paper work, but I figured it out just before bedtime and discovered some fun things about my narrator heroine. It looks like she's going to be rebellious and refuse to be exactly the way I planned her to be.

This is probably the scariest part of the writing process for me, other than submitting the finished product. It's exciting and something to anticipate, but the moment before I type the first word, the book only exists as a potential. After I start writing, it becomes a real thing that's limited in what it can be. Yeah, it can be revised and rewritten, but it's nearly impossible to go back to that blank slate time when anything was possible. As a result, I find myself procrastinating about starting. Like, right now, there is laundry crying out to be done, and my kitchen really needs to be cleaned.

To get past this, I'm going to have to set a firm start time, then set up a reward for completing my work. I suspect that once I start, it will flow and I'll be into it. Since I don't have anything to do or anywhere to be for today and tomorrow, I may try to do a writing marathon and see just how much I can crank out, to capture that freshness and enthusiasm for a new project. Then I can go back and do more plotting and then polish and fix what I've written.

So now I think I'll go make lunch as my big meal of the day (I think I'm going to invent a pasta sauce involving chicken, tomatoes, garlic, parsley and basil, maybe some olives) so that once I get started writing, I won't have to stop to cook dinner. I've already got iced tea made (it's too hot for proper tea), and I've stocked up on dark chocolate M&Ms. Come back tomorrow to find out what I accomplished.

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