Thursday, December 13, 2012

Writing In-Between

It's been a while.

I've been busy, too. Mostly doing freelance work. Work that pays the bills, so I can't really knock it.

But it's been so incredibly difficult to find the time to even read, let alone write.

On the plus side, I've transcribed my novel to date. Now I have to re-read it and see where I am on my outline. As for word count, I'm roughly one-quarter of the way to my goal. Which works out well, since I would estimate that I'm roughly a quarter of the way through my outline. So at least something is working!

The way my process works, generally, is that I will get on a roll, and I will keep writing (and as I've mentioned before I prefer to write longhand in a blank book) as long as I can keep the momentum going.

Eventually, though, I hit a wall.

For some writers I've known, their "wall" is generally the point they get to when they have little or no idea where to go from where they are. I guess not everyone uses outlines (or some form thereof). Fortunately for me, that's not the thing I usually call my "wall." For me, sometimes a wall is that dead-stop, where I can't figure out where to go or how to get back on track, and I suppose that happens to every writer at some point. But more frequently than not, it's a place I get to when I can no longer recall what I've written to date. It means it's time for me to stop and reread everything.

Obviously this inability to remember what I've written thus far is a result of my memory issues from that thwack I got on the head in my accident. But I'm not actually sure about this. I have a writer-friend who never had a head injury, and yet still has trouble when writing novels, because she can't keep her characters straight. Which, while it might be a result of her characters not being well-defined in a less-experienced, less-accomplished writer, is not the case here. In this instance, it's because she tends to write the kind of sweeping, multi-generational sagas that take me weeks, if not months to savor my way through. I am soooo not a fast reader (but more on that at a later time).  Since my own work isn't along those lines, however, I can't make a direct comparison.

At any rate, that's generally what I think of as my wall. When I get there, it's time to pause, reread, check where I am in the outline, make adjustments, and once I'm pretty sure I know where I need to go from there, I can get back to writing.

But now there is a new element tossed into the mix: this is the first major project I've undertaken while also doing freelance writing at the same time.

While I'm sure I'm not the only one who has trouble fitting writing time into a work schedule, I'm curious as to how other writers who do freelance work manage it. It's one thing when you have a regular, 9-5 job to pay the bills. When I was doing that, whatever I did at the office stayed in the office. For the most part, I'd leave work and not think about it again until I was back at work.

But this is different.

When your home office is where you do the work that pays your bills as well as where you work on that Great American Novel, the separation is entirely in your mind.

And right now my mind is having a little trouble with that.

How do you stop one project in the middle (especially if you're on a roll!) and set to work on the other, simply because it's time to? Right now I'm having trouble going back and forth.

For reasons I won't go into, besides the fact that this blog isn't about that, I won't be talking about my freelance work itself. Just suffice it to say that about half of it is as boring as any job; it doesn't challenge my skills so much as challenge me to not pull my hair out and scream a good portion of the time. And though the work is something I'm suited to, it makes it that much harder to tear myself away from my novel to do when it's dull work.

And even on a week like this one, when I'm waiting for work that I know is coming, it's still difficult to get started on my own writing. Firstly, if I go and reread what I have so far, and then the work—which could be ready for me to work on next Wednesday, or the day after tomorrow, I have no way to know—shows up, I would probably have to read it yet again when I get done that work and go back to my novel. Or, if I finish rereading and am still waiting for the work, and I start working on my novel, I could get torn away from that at any minute. All of this makes me hesitant to even start. I'm just not sure how to handle this.

This is where I am now.

And turning to work on a long-overdue blog entry is probably an avoidance strategy.

So I suppose it's time to get cracking, huh?

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On a totally unrelated note, if you are looking for a holiday gift for someone who's hard to shop for, or really doesn't want or need anything, I present the following link for your consideration. 

I can't afford to donate at the moment, but I certainly wouldn't mind having donations made in my honor if I were that hard-to-shop-for person, and this is a great way to make a direct, tangible impact on some children's lives. I particularly like the tuition program for girls. And since I would like to help, but can't—at least not until I'm caught up on bills!—I will hope that by passing this information on, someone who otherwise may never have heard of this will donate.