Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back in the Saddle

At long last, I am getting back into the language of Victorian England and putting words on the screen. That's a good feeling, especially when I have been slogging for so long, unable to get through the horse latitudes of ending one project and getting back to another. It takes time to get into the right frame of mind and the cadence of language from a different era, but I'm finally there with another chapter down. It's a bit rough in spots, but that is what editing and polishing are for -- working out the rough spots.

I've decided to give myself a treat once I've finished with a certain number of pages and chapters, and that is a holiday in another time and place with different characters. They are the carrot on the end of the writing stick. It is important to reward yourself for accomplishing set goals. I may even serialize the novel online, but I'm not quite there yet. Right now is all about getting back into the story and seeing it unfold on the screen, and that is a good feeling.

There are so many different levels to writing, not the least of which is finding a pace that suits the characters and the writer, all the while expecting and dealing with changes in the weather, so to speak. Some days, writing can be like skimming along a smooth track without a care in the world or a cloud on the horizon. Other days, it's more like slogging through mud up to your knees that sucks you down and makes forward movement downright difficult. It's important to keep slogging until you get to smooth ground again or nothing ever gets done.

There are times that other characters and stories beckon and seduce. I do my best to ignore them, taking notes when possible and remembering and noting details for exploration later. Distraction is a form of procrastination and should not be indulged. That's always hard for me to remember since I tend to be a bit of a magpie with new ideas, characters, and bits of research that lead in different directions from the one I'm currently traveling. That's where discipline comes in, but discipline and I have a rocky relationship. Discipline throws rocks to get my attention and I bob and weave and go off track. Like I said, a rocky relationship.

This morning was different. I felt the muse stirring and decided to follow her back into the fray. Now I'm past that awkward part in the story where clues are slipped in and a bit of foreshadowing done, I can move on to the meat of the story, coming back later to smooth out the bumps and brush away the cobwebs that gathered in the months between when I put the story down and picked it up again determined to move through it. It's a little like exercising after being a couch potato long enough for the pops and clicks of unused muscles, and the inevitable ache that settles, makes me wonder why I ever decided that exercise was a good thing.

At any rate, moving ahead is painful at first but gets easier each day -- as long as I minimize distractions and focus on getting some work done. In spite of the fits and starts, it does feel good to be back on track with a specific and reachable goal ahead. No one said writing was easy, but the rewards are worth it, as long as I don't think about the reviewers that will inevitably dislike what I've achieved. It's all right. Everyone is entitled to an opinion -- even when it's wrong.


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