Good things are happening in my little corner of the world. I recently signed a three-book deal with Henery Press for Nobody’s Baby, the first of the Ava Logan Mystery Series. I’m revising Wink and a Nod and getting it ready to send to my agent. I’ve got several appearances scheduled where people actually want to hear me talk about the writing process. I’m outlining book two in the Ava Logan series and hope to start writing by June 1. I’m doing guest blog posts and am helping the Randolph Writers group with an instructional series. I could go on and on about all this, but the point of the post is taking a step back and finding “that place.”
Overwhelmed with all the stuff that needed to be done, instead of becoming hyper productive and keeping my butt in the chair 18 hours a day, I got a dog. A high energy dog. A dog that would walk to the moon and back if I was game.
And an amazing thing happened. The less time I spent at the keyboard, the more productive I became. A walk along the river with Finn (the dog) can work out plot holes better than sitting and staring at the screen for hours.
When I sit down to work, I know I’ve got about an hour, maybe hour and a half before Finn will want my attention. So I spend less time scrolling through Facebook and more time actually working.
I’ve also started noticing things—like flowers and the sound of the river and the color of the sky. Things that went unnoticed before when I spent 18 hours a day staring at the computer screen.
I found my clarity outside. Have you found yours?
Every writer has a process. For some, the idea comes first and once the idea is fleshed out on paper into a story, they give it a title. In the meantime, they refer to their work as their WIP- or work in progress. For others, the title is there from the beginning, either generated before the first word is ever written or shortly after.
I’ve always been a title first writer, sometimes, building an entire novel around the title. When the title is there from the beginning, I know the direction the story is going, the tone I want to convey, and the purpose of every word. Without the title, I tend to flounder. The story isn’t real to me yet. It’s like a high school writing assignment – something you have to do but will drag your feet doing it.
Several months ago, I started my current project. Note the keywords several months and current project! I knew the story beginning to end, and even the middle but writing it was a chore. The story and I fought against one another. It wanted to just lay there and die and I would come along every now and then and perform a quick bout of CPR to instill new breath. I’d tell myself ‘tomorrow night – I’ll finish this chapter’. When tomorrow night came, there was a fascinating discussion on Twitter or some heavy-duty drama going on on facebook. Did I feel guilty? Not really. I wasn’t invested in the outcome. My current work – or WIP – was like a one-night stand rather than a good marriage. I didn’t even know it’s name!
Well, yesterday, I was playing around with some design programs I have and trying my hand at cover design. Again, note the fact I was more or less just killing time, not writing. And then something magical happened. I started looking for pictures to manipulate in the various photo editing programs and there it was. As soon as I saw the picture, the title hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I joyfully kicked the WIP to the curb and happily committed to Nobody’s Baby.
It feels real now.
What do you think of the cover? It will probably change a little but I do like the concept. And yes, that’s my granddaughter Ivy high-stepping through a grassy field.