Writing the Crap Draft...

I'm in the middle of multiple projects. This is not unusual for me. Unless I'm on a firm deadline with a project I bounce from one idea to the next. While it would probably drive a linear writer crazy, I find that working on different projects fits just perfect with my puzzle writer mind.

As a puzzle writer, I don't see everything about a story in nice, neat order. I'm all over the place, filling in holes, patching up empty spots in the story until I have about 80% of the entire story written. During this phase I can juggle multiple ideas. These scenes just come to me and I write. But this is the only phase I can do this type of insane writing.

During the crap draft phase (more affectionately known as the puke-it-out-and-clean-it-up-later phase) I don't have to worry about all the problems of the manuscript. If I've done a sufficient amount of plotting (Not like you heavy plotters out there. *gasp* I only do a road map.) then I can just write and allow ideas to come to me and build on them. As I get new gems of ideas to add to the story, I simply jot them down and incorporate them later. And if I'm really in the zone (love those moments) I can just write.

But even with my puzzle process, I have to allow scenes to grow in my mind. I can't just plow through the crap draft unless I jump around. So instead of stopping, I work on multiple projects, allow my creative brain to take a break from one story so I can think about my next step.

(Do you linear writers need some oxygen? I'll wait until you revive yourselves...)

Today I worked on 3 different stories. I got a fair amount accomplished on all 3 so it was a good writing day for me. I can do this because all 3 stories are in the crap draft stage. I can ONLY do this in crapt draft.

When I'm working on revisions, and deep in deadline mode, that's another story. I need to concentrate only on one story at a time so I can pay attention to pacing and flow of the story. Scheduling is very important for me. But I'm a back-against-the-wall writer and I think my creative brain works best in over-drive. So it's not uncommon for me to have one deadline after another. It would drive some people nuts. I know this. But it works for me.

What's your process? Do you do a crap draft?

All the best, Lisa

Listening to: Florence and the Machine - Dog Days are Over!

3D Movies and Magic Eye

I have a confession to make. Are you ready? Sure?

I can't magic eye. I've tried many times to see that picture that is somehow supposed to emerge from a bunch of gobble on the screen if I stare at it long enough. But alas, I've never seen it. It never appears. And up until a few years ago my eyesight was really good, so I can't even blame it on that.

With all the 3D movies that are being released these days I've been wondering if I'm going to miss out on something wonderful there as well. The 3D experience definitely adds some excitement or depth to a movie, or so I'm told. To date I haven't seen one. I'm sort of afraid simply because I hate disappointment and don't want to get all worked up about this new experience only to be crushed when everyone else is seeing objects fly at them at lightning speed except for me. I'm afraid I'll be the one who is spending the entire movie checking my glasses to see if there is a defect.

Okay, so anyone else out there ME challenged like me? Can you see 3D movies? Let me know.


Listening to...Middle of the Road - The Pretenders (Don't you just love Chrissie?)

Procrastination and Kamikaze bugs...

Ever wonder why heat from the grill turns bugs into Kamikazis? Or why after a rainstorm all the frogs turn suicidal, head for wet pavement and take aim at your wheels just as you drive by. {Squish!}

I'm not nuts, truly. These are just things that pop into my head when I'm trying to avoid writing...or wrestling with a scene. It's either that or clean the bathroom but since I have to do that anyway, it's not very inspiring. What? Bugs aren't inspiring? Well, you're right. They're not. It's pretty sad that my mind wonders to bugs and reptiles as a way to procrastinate. And there are other more interesting things. But since I live in the woods and can't really avoid the mosquito that seem to want to feast on my ankles every time I walk out the door, my mind is on bugs. I think it's normal. You can decide for yourself.

I'm happy to say though that I haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking of bugs or frogs. These days I've been pretty focused on writing. Came back from NYC last week after meeting with my agent and my editor and was jazzed to get back to writing my proposal, which I'm happy to say is done and sent off to my agent. Soon it should be making its way to my editor's desk which should (fingers crossed) result in a sale.

But I have had my share of bouts with procrastination. When it strikes, it's usually because I dont' know enough about my story, or I'm trying to take the characters down a path they don't want to go. They're not real you say? True. I'm not insane. I know they're my imaginary friends. BUT...and this is a big but...while I'm writing the story they'd BETTER be real to me. If they're not and I don't feel their wants and needs and goals and the heartache of their setbacks, my words fall flat. And that's the last thing I want.

I have a list of things to do aside from cleaning and thinking about bugs when I get to a point where I'm stuck.

1.) I pull out index cards and write down all the scenes that I've written and still have to write. (That is if I haven't done it in the pre-writing phase.) I can either find a hole in the story or something that doesn't belong there at all.
2.) I brainstorm with a friend. Sometimes when I get too close to a story, I can't see the forest through the trees. A fresh set of eyes can zero in on the problem.
3.) I change my writing space. No, I don't mean rearrange the furniture. I mean take my laptop and get myself out of my writing space to a cafe, the porch, the kitchen table or any other place where I won't be interupted by noise I need to take care of. When I go to a noisy restaurant to type, I truly don't hear anything. It's not my noise. When I'm home, all that noise is mine to deal with. So the change of writing space sometimes helps.
4.) Write in short bursts. I may be overwhelmed with knowing I have to write for an hour. But telling myself I only have to write for 20 minutes, giving myself a start time and an end time usually gets my juices flowing enough to write. More times than not I got way past the 20 minutes. But just committing to the twenty minutes usually keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

What do you do to bust proscrastination?

Blessings, Lisa

Listening to: The English Beat - Save it for Later
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