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After spending a significant portion of my day sleeping (megashift recovery always means a thoroughly wasted Monday), I finally started tackling the pile of overdue items on my to-do list. I did not get as far as I had hoped, but I did get far enough that I feel I accomplished something. I still have 3 or 4 more reviews to get out, but my brain is toasted right now, so I’m wasting my time prattling into the ether, to whomever is wandering the web, listening.
On nights like this, when my body feels too tired to do much and my brain feels too restless to focus, I am often caught in what I like to call the ‘idea machine’. For some reason, during these odd times, ideas seem to flow like an open faucet from my brain. Most of them are trash, but a few actually make me sit up and and say hmmmm.
One of the ideas that crossed my mind earlier, while flipping channels, looking for something to occupy my eyeballs while my brain buzzed uselessly, was to begin a unique project designed specifically to force me to finish one of these blasted novels. You see, I’m a friggin notorious ‘never-finisher’. I will have an idea, it will burn in my brain like a solar flair, distracting me from everything else of importance until I commit it to paper. Once recorded, however, I get distracted by yet another idea and never get back to the previous one. Now, while this is all very good for generating hundreds of very viable story lines, it is absolutely useless for getting any single one of them completed to the point of being able to publish the blasted things.
So, having considered my recent (much to my surprise) success with running the blog and the book club, and how well I have done with managing to attend to them regularly, keeping them updated, and ensuring they each have adequate content on a regular enough basis to keep people interested, I had to ask myself – why do I do so well at this yet do so poorly at that. I pondered the differences between the two, trying hard as I could to understand what the secret ingredient was, only to get massively frustrated by the whole process. I tossed my hands in the air, said *fook it* and marched off to get a cup of tea. It was then that the light bulb in my often dim brain came on.
As I stood by the stove, waiting for the water to boil, reading the silliness I had tacked to the front of my fridge, the back of a cereal box, the side of a tea package, etc, I realized that I read this same silliness every day, without fail. I’ve done the same thing 800 times by now, easily, yet I continue to stand there and go through this process all over again, each time I find myself standing by the stove waiting for a pot to boil. I asked myself why? Am I becoming OCD? Going insane? I mean, I know I’m nuttier than a bag of pecans, but this behavior had me questioning exactly how nutty I am. It was as I stood there, contemplating the odd assortment of little snippets and tidbits stuck to the front of the fridge that I realized – no, I am not nuts, I am just completely blind. My secret ingredient was staring me in the face and I hadn’t even noticed.
I am ADD, and my whole life I have had a difficult time focusing on things for long periods of time. About the only thing I am able to focus
on for any length of time is reading, and even then, I am always reading at least 3 books at once, bouncing between them at will. I am often doing a dozen things at once, and I operate best in jobs where the work I do offers constant change and variety. One of the reasons I excel as a bartender, in my opinion, is that the job is never the same from one day to the next. I never know who I will meet, what the day will be like, etc, and the nature of the job itself demands that I am in constant motion to meet a new, unexpected need.
You would think that my knowing this about myself would translate into me understanding something as simple as why I have been unable to finish one of these novels. But no, it does not translate, because my brain often skips right over the simple, trying to dive into the complicated, in an effort to find something that will engage it well enough to hold my attention.
My life is riddled with multiple DUH moments a day as a result.
Thankfully, today’s DUH moment led to a small epiphany that might just have unlocked the secret to successfully taking one of these story lines and completing the novel.
Instead of trying to write a book based on my usual method of doing things (plan the hell out of it until even Einstein would throw his hands up and cry uncle!) I’m going to write it in scenes. One scene a day, that’s all. It’s short, I can write scenes in my sleep (I love writing scenes), and it’s quick. I will start with the opening of the story and write a scene, then once it’s done, walk away from it, just like the blog posts and reviews – complete it, then move on. If I write another scene later that day, awesome, if not, not biggie, I can write the next scene the next day, then close it, and walk away. If I do that for even 30 days, I have the beginning of a novel. If I do it for 100 days, I have an entire novel’s worth of building blocks. Then all that is needed is for me to connect the scenes with transitions or descriptive passages, narratives or backstory.
I think this plan is brilliant.
I dunno what the rest of the writing world would think of this writing method, but I’m gonna give it a go and see if it works for me.
If it does, then I expect the letter from the Nobel committee to arrive promptly, thank you, and I want to fly first class to the ceremony where I will be award a prize for The Biggest Dumb Idea Ever Conceived That Actually Ended Up Working.
*yes, I know that is a terrible award title, but cut me some slack here, it’s 3am and I refuse to drink more caffeine (ergo the tea)*
Until we meet again, fellow insomniacs – I’m off to try and write a book…
~ G ~
keeper of the sacred carafe, grinder of the holy beans, high priestess of all things caffeinated