NO.

why is it that whenever you’re told you can’t do something, you want to do just that?

i finished the disaster draft of my second novel on november 10 and told myself that in order to gain the proper amount of distance, i wasn’t allowed to open the document for 2-4 weeks (okay, so bria’s actually the one who told me that, but i listened.)

the very next day, the characters flooded my brain saying PICK ME LISTEN TO ME FIX ME and i couldn’t think about anything else but how to make them richer and more believable and more awesome.

in order to compensate for this break from writing, i allowed myself the luxury of reading and yet, when given free rein, suddenly, it didn’t seem as interesting. when i didn’t have to sneak in my reading, it didn’t seem as decadent. there’s something about reading an extra chapter when other deadlines are looming that feels deliciously wrong. (see what a good kid i am? me doing something wrong = reading more.)

ahem.

and now that three weeks have passed and it’s time to return to my manuscript to flesh it out, i’ve discovered the characters are hiding and the plot is non-existent and the necessary edits feel like sliding down a razor blade banister into a barrel of grapefruit juice (i can’t take credit for this analogy. it’s all tawna and it’s all sorts of painful.)

working on my manuscript is the VERY THING i’ve been craving for the past three weeks, but now that i have permission to do so, it’s not enticing.

how do i trick myself into doing what i’m supposed to do?

basically, if you have any suggestions on the best way to do this…

… please enlighten me.

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12 Responses to “NO.”

  1. Linda G. Says:

    Human nature is a, um, witch, huh?

    I suppose your subconscious is too smart to fall for a “Don’t you dare touch that manuscript yet!” at this point.

    You know what’s been working well for me lately? Having two projects going at the same time. I’m finishing up my current WIP (which is at a crazy-difficult part of the plot) while I’m editing my old drawer novel (in the hopes it will someday be fit to see the light of day). If I stall on one, I go to the other. Work it until I stall there, and then go back to the first.

    It’s amazing how many good ideas will come about the one I’m NOT working on at the time. But that’s okay, because I can immediately pop over and implement them. Sneaky, huh?

    • abby mumford Says:

      two projects at once!? i’ve always admired people who can do that. i seem to be a one track mind kind of girl.

      however, perhaps this is the time to try something new. see if that change is something i can implement permanently….

      *ponders*

  2. Adriana Kirilova Says:

    I have two:
    1. Work on it anyway. Any work is better than no work… I think.
    2. Schedule a lot of other things in the next two weeks so that you don’t have time to write :) And then, when the inspiration invariably strikes, stay up all night and write :)

    • abby mumford Says:

      i am pretty good at booking my schedule solid — and you’re right, if i don’t think i have time to write, it probably means i’ll want to! it reminds me of that saying, “if you want something to get done, give it to a busy person.”

  3. Alexis Gunderson (@AlexisKG) Says:

    I concur with both those ideas! Not that the Zinc project is compelling me much at the moment, or that I’ve managed to make myself very busy. But. In theory! Actually, having this Shiny New Idea that I am SO ANXIOUS to start is really the best motivator, as I know I have to give it my full attention when I do start it, so I am not letting myself do anything with it until Temerity is done. Withholding, that’s my strategy.

    ALSO, The Intern’s post today was about revisions! And bleeding for them. So, there’s that.

    http://internspills.blogspot.com/2011/12/everything-intern-needs-to-know-about.html

    If nothing else, revise it so I can READ it! Won’t you think of your poor crit partner?

    • abby mumford Says:

      ANOTHER new strategy. how positively fascinating. and yes, some motivation too. i shall think of your face whenever i feel like i want to walk away from the editing and it’ll make me want to work harder.

      thanks for the post from the intern. i’m excited to read it.

  4. currently overbooked myself Says:

    I agree Adriana… over booking works somewhat for me as well. Then I really start prioritizing and the importance of my writing time. It’s easier writing about music though, because like today, when I am over booked with house projects, I get to listen to music at the same time…

    • abby mumford Says:

      it sounds to me like you’re not so much overbooking yourself as multitasking and that is impressive indeed. i happen to find doing the dishes is an excellent way to get my mind working because it’s such a mindless task, it frees up my brain to THINK and PLOT and SCHEME.

      *pulls out vacuum.* i wonder if this will work?

  5. Jeffe Kennedy Says:

    See? This is my argument for the every-day thing. When you were in the thick of it, you couldn’t stop. Now that you’re not, you can’t start. I’m with “do it anyway.” Do it every day. Give it a week and you’ll be in the swim again.

    Good luck!

    • abby mumford Says:

      you bring a very valid point to the table, but as i gear up to dive back into my edits (yes, i’ll do so today), i can’t help but feel excited that i’ve taken some time away. i really think the distance gained from time off will be more beneficial to the story than the slow return caused detriment.

      but this is why we all have to find what works for us as individuals! and i certainly and completely appreciate you taking the time to share what works for you because who knows, maybe on my next book, i’ll try your suggestion. :)

      • Jeffe Kennedy Says:

        Oh, no – maybe I wasn’t clear. I absolutely agree in the time away concept. Necessary and very helpful. I just think we have to keep the flow going by then plunging into something else. Which maybe you did. I don’t always and I need to remember to do that.

        • abby mumford Says:

          and THAT’s the other thing i’m not good at = multitasking with my writing. i seem to have a one track mind and can only work on one project at a time. i REALLY need to work on this because it seems like something i’ll have to perfect….

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