Friday, April 20, 2012


I'm trying to finish the sequel to "Too Many Ghosts: A Dominique and Duchess Mystery" as quickly as possible because I sort of left the story hanging in the air. No wonderful resolution. But had I finished the story, it would have become a monstrous 800 pages, so it was needful that I divide it. How am I doing with my creating? Not so good. I've discovered that I am getting lots of other projects done. Yesterday I made a couple of dreaded calls to businesses that I'd been postponing for over a week. Seems I will do anything to keep from writing. I try to keep my to-do list at a minimum when I'm writing and leave enough time each day to put down the story that is going around in my mind, but making myself actually sit down and write is getting harder and harder. I keep finding things to do that on any other day besides a writing day, I would never even consider tackling. For example, not on my to-do list yesterday was changing out my wardrobe. But I took my winter clothes out of the other closet and brought my summer ones to replace them. Laundry was on my list, but I conjured up a couple more batches by going through hubby's closet and removing anything with little spots so he'd be sparkling clean the next time he grabbed a shirt or pants. Last year I made a new lawn swing cover - the other one was so faded it was no longer attractive, but a terrific wind storm late last fall ripped the cover off and it needed repairing. I even hunted it down from the top of the garage where we'd stored it and made the necessary repairs. Our patio swing is beautiful again with the cover and pillows I made. If I wasn't caught up on my mending, I'd have done that too. Anything to keep from writing! What is so hard about putting fingers to the keyboard and getting down the story that I really am anxious to tell? Why am I so willing to do hated tasks instead of real writing? As I'm walking, I think about the story. While doing dishes, I work on a scene. When driving alone, I'm thinking about trials, perils, problems, all sorts of things I can throw at my characters to make the story more interesting. I ran across an article I'd written for a writer's newsletter. Apparently I had the same problem in 1997 I'm having today. This is, in part, what I wrote: "A phrase that's bounced around a lot today in the corporate world is the answer to our dilemma. It's called time management: allotting a specified amount of time to each task, then moving on to the next one, even if the first is not complete. That way, everything gets a fair share of your attention and nothing is ignored completely. "Iron two shirts for your husband, dust the living room (which everyone sees) (or better yet, get the kids to do it), spray the roses today, weed them tomorrow, and spend 30 minutes sketching out your story. "Tomorrow iron two more shirts (now he has two clean ones in his closet) dust the bedroom while you're dreaming up some drama for your story, weed the roses while you conjure up some conflict for your characters, then give them 30 minutes and write down all that you just accomplished mentally while doing those necessary physical tasks. "As you run to the grocery store or pick up the kids, outline in your mind the next step of your story, character development, irony, tension, more conflict (can there ever be enough?), keeping your subconscious busy with the most important thing - your writing - while you accomplish the mundane - the necessary. "Your guilt is assuaged - you've been working on all the important things - nothing is being neglected completely, and you're on your way to the completion of that novel you've always known was in you. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. What's the matter with writing a book that same way?" Now to take my own advice and get busy writing! Except that I'm going to the temple today which is an all day event here in California. So I'll start tomorrow!

1 comment:

Anna Buttimore said...

Lynn, what a great idea! I'm forever complaining that I have work, housework, clubs and gym sessions when I'd rather be writing, but of course I can use that time to develop characters in my head, or work through plot problems.

And I will now always iron two shirts each night rather than one!