Thursday, November 13, 2014

Not Losing the Thread

I've reached that part of my year where my life annually takes on an added dimension – hockey season – and I'm fighting to keep a bunch of different balls in the air.

Bitter Crossing is out, Fallen Sparrow (June 2015) is in production, and I'm chipping away at the 2016 novel, trying to carve out a few hours each day to do so.

Adding something to my day feels like setting the fourth and final ace atop the already-teetering house of cards: you hold your breath and hope the wind doesn't blow.

Creatively, I try to accomplish a lot in a little time. Part of that means, for lack of a better description, not losing the story's thread, remembering where I was going when I finished my last writing session. Easy, you say? Take notes? Outline? Done. Tried that.

This is different. Eighty percent of what I'm talking about is mental. There's a great line (I forgot who said it) about a writer "writing for twenty-three hours a day and typing for one." I'm talking about keeping the story in your head, so it's not only there when you hit the keyboard for your next session, but it's actually progressed – in your psyche – before you do so.

I'm sure every writer with a day job struggles with this and has a technique to fight it, and I'd love to hear them all. My iPhone is filled with various voice recordings, thoughts that come to me as I go through my day, walking around campus, waiting in line at the grocery store. (“Dad, do you have to talk to yourself like that? It's embarrassing.”)

Talking to yourself in public isn't so bad. After all, isn't it a dad's job to be embarrassing?

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