Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stepping Away From Your Work In Progress, Then Coming Back To It...

We've all been there, slaving away at a story and finding yourself getting more lost or frustrated with where it's going.  Even if you have a well planned outline to guide you, there's always a scene or situation that arises that leaves you flummoxed and frustrated.  You can't seem to move the story or yourself forward for one reason or another.  What do you do?


Well, in my case I get up and walk away from the story and I mean in every sense of the word.  Step away from your computer and do other things.  "But for how long?" I hear you ask.  My answer is simply this, "As long as it takes."

"But I can't stop writing, I've got so many ideas in my head..."  

GREAT!  Go work on one of those instead.  I'm not saying stop writing by any means.  What I'm suggesting is that you let your brain work on other projects, or activities such as go bowling...


Take a nice long walk...


Go someplace...


In short do whatever else you enjoy or have been thinking about doing and have put off.  Let your mind wander and experience something other than trying to figure out your story.  Brains need downtime or something new to work on in order to keep them working right.  Or like I said before, work on some other stories or ideas not connected to your work in progress.


Sometimes I find working on an entirely different project makes me feel better about having been stuck on the one I've stepped away from.  I actually relax and feel the same passion and satisfaction from using my creative side.  

In my case, I've been working on "The Door" for almost two years now and still haven't finished a 1st draft yet.  Why?  Because I kept hitting various roadblocks.


And each time I hit one, I'd bang my head against it for days before finally walking away.  Then after a while (i. e.  a few  days, weeks, or even months) I'd come back to it with a new idea and started making progress again.  But then I hit another obstacle and had to walk away again.  It's not that I don't like the story, I love it!  It's crucial to furthering my Para-Earth Series, which may have been part of the problem.  I was trying to put TOO much into the story and kept getting myself bogged down, or losing sight of the plot.  Within the last year I tried introducing new characters who would appear in later books (such as my vampyre Nathan) which helped open new avenues and scenes, but the story began getting too long and convoluted.  I was losing sight of the main characters for "The Door" (Alex, Veronica, Cassandra, Julie).  So I pulled him back out of the book.  But some of the scenes his presence inspired remained because they were useful.  

But then I found the book was almost 70,000 words long, even with Nathan and company's removal, so I set the book aside again and worked on "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" getting it ready to be released this October.  

Now, with "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" in the hands of beta-readers who I won't hear back from until next month, I found myself coming back to "The Door".

What happened next?  I'll tell you in my next entry. 



Until then, take care and keep writing...