Wow. Last Monday’s deadline completely got away from me. >_<
Monday: Oh HELLO Jess, I didn’t realize you were here. I’m terribly sorry but I have no time to chat. Take care now. Much to do. Bye!
Jess: O.O Wait…what just happened?
Reflecting on that, I realized that this feeling of “missing days” has been following me around a lot longer than just this week and it’s been affecting more than just days. My writing has been passing me by before my very eyes. Or rather staring at me dolefully through unimpressed, judgemental eyes. It’s startling to see that I’ve written exactly NOTHING on my Hourglass novel (or any other manuscript) for the last two or three months.
I look back at the long stretch of months and I see only 5 Mother Project fiction pieces, two of which are excerpts from an already written section of manuscript. In spite of all the blogs I’ve written warning everyone else about this trap, I still fell into it. The “writer’s block” trap. Or, in my case, the laziness trap.
DOOM ON YOU! DOOM ON YOU! Er…me, anyway.
So how do I solve this? Where’s my absinthe?! 1 cc of the Green Fairy, STAT! Or, less damaging to my liver, I can have a Meet Cute with my story!
What’s a “Meet Cute”?
Well, as it was so adorably and succinctly explained in the movie “The Holiday“, (a rom- com with Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, and Cameron Diaz), a meet cute is when two people meet each other for the first time in a very cute way. Say, the man walks into a department store and tells the sales clerk he only needs pajama bottoms. Then a woman comes in a moment later and tells the sales clerk she only needs a pajama top. Then, badda bing badda boom, man and woman meet and it produces “awwwww”s.
Now I usually reserve the Meet Cute for plot bunnies and story ideas that come out of nowhere. It’s usually a surprise and ironic the way they come to me so they’re definitely qualified to have a Meet Cute status. It’s natural and sometimes hilarious.
For an already existing story, the Meet Cute has to be staged. I have to casually bump into it like Monday did for me this week. I totally have to invite it for coffee and we have to sit down and catch up on all the latest drama.
Having a staged Meet Cute can be beneficial for a writer. We can read the story again with fresh eyes and marvel/cringe at our work. New revelations sprout and neurons fire again, renewing interest in the story. But really this is just another word for EDITING. Good if you have a rough draft already. The way that it’s not great, especially for writers like me who never seem to finish a rough draft, is that we want to change everything. Bits and pieces of ideas or a general concept leaves too many possibilities to change things and sink deeper into the swirl of madness that is creativity.
I believe, that if this is the case, the writer needs to relinquish control of the meet cute and let things happen naturally. Yes, it is a staged meeting, but trying to control what the story eats and adjusting it’s hair style in an attempt to get back into the flow of things could make the story unyielding instead acquiescent. I know my stories don’t like to be told what to do all the time. I’m not a control freak by nature and it knows that. It becomes recalcitrant when I try to micromanage. So, I advise that on a staged Meet Cute, pick a scene you are naturally inclined to like and start to write it. See where it takes you. Let it flow naturally to get a connection again. If, after the scene is over you feel like writing more, then go for it! If you’re done, poke around the story a bit and see if anything shakes out. See if anything catches your eye. Become interested again.
The length of the meet cute all depends on your tolerance and judgement, just like any date. If it was a pleasant experience and you want to meet up again soon, then make a another date to meet again. Hopefully you can establish a better long-term relationship with the story and actually FINISH. But if it was a bear to get anything flowing and you were just counting the minutes till you could excuse yourself, then maybe pick a different story to have a date with or try again under different circumstances. Pick a different place to meet or a different day.
Just don’t stop trying.
(Now, just a note, I’m basing this advice on noob writers who have a hard time keeping at it. Pro writers I’m sure aren’t as inclined to have this issue, self-disciplined as they are. HA. But even then I hope such advice can be useful to them in some way.)
I feel a bit like a lecturing mother when I post blogs like this. I mean, I AM a mother so of course I’m a natural lecturer but I do not want you as the reader to feel like I’m knocking you over the head with my words. If anything, what I write here is a random outpouring of my current thoughts about writing; a journal to write down my stuff and record my journey. However, if I strike a chord with you or inspire you in some way to come back to writing, then I will have had a good day. That’s my original purpose for wanting to be an author anyway.
Inspire. Create. Encourage.
“My Business is to create.”~ William Blake
So go have a date with your story or your WIP. It’s never too late to pick it up again and start anew.
And never give up! Take care y’all. Thanks for hanging out and hanging on. Much appreciated 🙂