Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rogue Creative Impulses

So y'all know what I'm MEANT to be doing right now, yes? I have my second Cozy Mystery to get written and I've been plugging away, but it's going SLOWLY. Now slow for me isn't bad in some people's book—500-1000 words a day. But for the time I'm putting in, normally I'd be at about a 1500 word a day pace. I've got a ton of details, but it just isn't catching its groove (gunna kill somebody tonight and see if that helps).

Then, Sunday night getting out of the tub... I was pondering... what was I pondering?... 'catchy', I think... I was thinking about how Kahlotus Disposal Site is a higher level of main idea than my other books. I don't know that it is a better story. Yet. But there is something to be said for high concept, yes?

So I'm drying off and it HITS ME... this... IDEA... I go in the kitchen, drink my fiber (yeah, don't ask... keeps me from getting grouchy, ifyouknowwhatImean) and this idea keeps NAGGING... more detail... so I head back in to brush my teeth and sit down to jot all the details in my notebook...

I wake up DREAMING the dumb thing! Sheesh (talk about persistent)... by the time I got out of the shower, I had the dialog for the whole first scene... in 20 minutes I got 450 words on the computer... and it's been bugging me all day! Blasted kids! (and no, I don't mean Cabritos, though cabritos is a good word, isn't it... it is the LITERAL translation of kids... you know... baby goats... but I digress... HUZZAH! Man, it's been too long since I digressed)

But my POINT (yes, I have one), is my creativity will not behave!!!

My Obligations

I HAVE to get this cozy writtten. I know myself well enough to know the FINISHED draft will be better for sitting time, and if it is DUE in September and I work backwards through: my edit, smoothing, beta reading, edit, smoothing, beta reading, edit smoothing, AGENT reading and polishing, then I need to get BACK to this by MAY, and with my rule for sitting, that means I need to be DONE by April...

erm... did I mention this isn't happening? I have about 12,000 words at the moment. For a first draft that is maybe 20% Possibly closer to 15%. At 12,000 words a week, I am 5 weeks out, and 12,000 is closer to normal pace than what I'm writing.

My editor has also requested some changes on the first cozy... not huge, but they have repercussions through the book, so there will have to be a full read. I promised them by the end of April (intending to do them in that 'sitting time'. So I really HAVE to keep that 12,000 word a week pace to have 2 weeks for these OTHER changes. ACK!


For a week or two, I am going to try a carrot thing with the new one... I GET to do that for a little while each night if I first do the OTHER for a certain number of words... I may do reverse order... I know that sounds wonky, but normally before I write, I do a SUDOKU to get my mind off my day and into writing mode, but this new story, I think is strong enough to pull me in without the detour... I will let you know how it goes.

Any of you ever get captured by the pernicious creativity bug when you were obliged on something else?


Charmaine Clancy said...

I'll be cheering you on to finish that pie :)

Old Kitty said...

So long as you do all these things NAKED, you'll be fine!!


Take care

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Yes, it happens to me a lot! Let me know what ends up working for you. :)

Ciara said...

Absolutely. I couldn't stop myself yesterday. I wrote 1000 words during carpool line on a prequel to a planned trilogy. I know crazy, but I couldn't let it go. :)

Jan Morrison said...

oh, you know that's true for me! I am having such a difficult time focussing. I know that I'm feeling sad and I need to give that time BUT I have someone waiting for 'True' and I need to do a bunch of stuff to it first. But I keep dicking around doing anything but - and not good anything buts either like cleaning my house or dealing with a mountain of paper work. Just plain doing nothing.
OK - enough feeling bad - today is another day, Mr. McGarrity. (Maggie Muggins for you youngins)

Hart Johnson said...

Charmaine-I wish it was as easy as eating pie!

Kitty-I have been TRYING naked! The old tricks aren't working!

Elizabeth--maybe it is the deadline thing... I wish shout if I figure it out!

Ciara-Carpool line! Excellent display of multi-tasking!

Jan, you absolutely need to give yourself time. If things flow, don't feel guilty, but if they don't, be gentle with yourself!

Sarah Ahiers said...

first off - i want those goats!
Second, i almost always get new ideas when working on a WIP. I think it's because our muses are all whipped up in a frenzy (or in my muse's case, going on a beer binge)

Ella said...

All the time, it is annoying as hell, but sometimes the sparks are so dazzling, I can't help myself ;-D

Go with it and what happened to walking?! This is when a lot of creativity arrives... weather sucks?! What about updog, down dog and then do the rabbit pose, something will leap into your mind and then you'll be chasing pen n' paper or a keyboard. :-D

VR Barkowski said...

My freshest, most irresistible ideas always come to me when I'm working on something else, particularly if there's a deadline involved.

There really should be a name for this phenomenon.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

That pie chart / actual pie thing was really clever.

By the way,I'm passing onto you the "One Lovely Blog" award. It's great material to use if you want a blog entry that's easy and quick to do. I'd also understand if you don't want to bother with it because it's basically a chain letter with a little picture. Enjoy if you want it and just grab the .jpg from my latest blog entry or the "Award" page I created on my site to house such novelties :).

Erica Mitchell said...

There was a time, not long ago, when I had 6 characters from three different projects screaming at me to be written. When the newest character struted around with a sparkling new idea I thought, okay, we'll try this. NOPE! My original MC's came storming through and took over. My creativity will roam, no doubt, but the original characters won't allow me to work on anything else until I have written "the end" on their story. The other 4 will have to wait. Luckily, I don't have a time constraint at the moment so I can allow time for this one story to be written. Getting a grip on the side of me that has no filter and wants to go off on a creative frontier of all things absurd, that's entirely different and takes discipline.

As far as other things I need to get done, yes my story will sneak in so I don't have to go to the grocery store or some other obligatory chore that I hate doing.

Hart Johnson said...

Sarah-I love goats, and the babies are pretty darned cute, eh? Muses on beer binges... nice *snort*

Ella-that exercise might not be such a bad idea... a little shake-up before I start writing... Sounds like you sort of approach it like I do though... TRY to stay on track, but give in now and then.

VR--I'm sure the deadline is part of my problem! (that an the second in a series thing)... that part is new to me, too...

Michael-I'm HONORED! I will head on over shortly! Some awards come here to die, but I always feel honored receiving them.

Erica-my GAWD--3 works at once! Too funny! And I love how the other characters get jealous! I sure hope my Cozy Characters DO get jealous!

Carolyn Abiad said...

Yeah - I don't get much good sleep when I get an idea. I go commatose and the characters work it out in my head at night. Then I wake up and spit it out on the page. Drink coffee to stay awake... fiendishly plot some more... go back to commatose sleep and auto-correct what I just typed. The cycle repeats for about a month of drafting and the house could be falling down around me for all I care. I think this is why writers identify with zombies. :)

Misha Gerrick said...

Ah yes. I have been bitten by the distracting idea bug before.

And I'm thinking of playing with said idea just to get writing again. Thing is, I'm afraid that idea will take over and I can't finish Doorways in April.

Sorry... TMI.

Good luck!


Denise Covey said...

One of the most frustrating things in the world is to be in the zone and not able to get it down. Sounds like your next cozy is going to be a doozey. Go for it.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hart, you may be too creative for your own good.

Helena said...

I can't stand it when I get ideas and stories and scenes and there's no time to write down any of them because my real life keeps interfering.

How you manage to write as much as you do, Hart, between family and job and life in general, is a thing of wonder.

Trisha said...

The main thing I got out of this entry was...baby goats!! They so cute! hehe

Just kidding - the main thing I got out of it was YAY, NEW IDEA! :)

Marjorie said...

I have to sit down to write before any ideas come to me. It's like I have to force creativity. Wish mine worked more like yours.

Hart Johnson said...

But Carolyn, I can't function with no sleep! (I too, though, sometimes half sleep with them doing their thing all night... not very restful, so I hear you)

Misha-that taking over is a fear of mine, too, though I hope if I can just use it to get me started maybe it will help. We'll see how it works.

Denise-I try to jot enough notes that I don't lose it no matter what, though it's true there are ideas I haven't gotten back to... I hope they BOTH end up great!

Alex-thank you! I think...

Helena-yeah, I get that, too--stupid reality! My hubby is the primary homemaker, so that helps a LOT... and our house is a mess because I'm not pulling my weigh *shifty*

Trisha-aren't they cute! And yes, YAY new idea!!!

Hart Johnson said...

Marjorie, I think it actually develops. Before I got that first book done and tried to force another, they ideas hadn't really started flowing. I'm not sure if my brain just took a while to believe it was going to NEED this function?

Southpaw said...

Baby goats. I want 'em. Now, what were you talking about? Oh yes, things get muddled up all the time.

Crystal Pistol said...

I was naked in the tub today and drew a smiley face on my tummy with a washable marker, which was conveniently left on the floor by my own Kids.

I'm hoping a secret smile will push my creativity in a happy direction.

Congrats on your good idea.

Hannah said...

Oh, most definitely. The Picard is always in a frenzy ESPECIALLY when I'm supposed to be doing something else. Focus, Picard!

Adina West said...

I feel for you - and I can empathise. The shiny new idea is ALWAYS more attractive than the one we're supposed to be working on.

Good luck with balancing the two!