Forcing the Swing of Things

Writing is hard. We love it, we’re addicted to it, can’t live without it, but it’s definitely a long term relationship. You have to work at it. Every darn day.

Vacations really screw the dynamic up. I went home to the States last month, and though I took my flash drive and stole my mom’s laptop, all I got done was a proofread on an agent-requested manuscript. Not a word written.

I’m one of those cyclic writers; I go in fits and spurts, sometimes inspired for hours on end day after day, and sometimes it’s like giving a pound of flesh to get one mediocre sentence out. I envy those writers who can sit down at 5 a.m. every day like clockwork and churn out chapter after chapter without blowing their own head off. So this past month has been a bit of a dry spell – uninspired, and somewhat discouraging.

Then bang, bang, two things happened: an agent I have a lot of respect for loved my sample chapters and requested the full. Just as I was ready to shelve this manuscript, writing it off as a pre-success novel that might never see the light of day (unless published under the dreaded “Never Before Published” tag).

Not long after, one of my short stories was accepted for publication (details to be posted).

Wham! All of a sudden the universe was giving me all these positive signs, encouragement to move forward. In a rush of excitement, I sent off another short story and set myself a new goal table for my current work in progress.

Only…it’s been at least 6 weeks since I looked at this monster. I don’t remember exactly where I was, what I wanted to happen with it. The characters have all fallen into a magical slumber, and I feel like an erstwhile Prince Charming, seeking a way through the brambles and dragons and demonic knights, fighting my way to their chambers high in the castle keep so I may shake them awake again.

It’s like setting a dinner date with an old boyfriend. I can remember our relationship, what went wrong, what I miss, but I’m fuzzy on details like toothpaste preference and shirt size. What do each of my characters sound like? Is the main character still funny, or did I at some point decide to make her more somber and serious?

Luckily for me, I’m obsessive compulsive, and as such have pages of copious notes about everything from character quirks to minute plot points. I just have to wade through it once again, overcome my procrastinitis, and get back to business.

Right after a quick squee on Facebook, a glance at Neil Gaiman’s blog, a click-through on the blogosphere…

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