Or… How to get back into a writing project.
Q: When you are on a road trip do you use the GPS or not?
After months of not working consistently on my novels and writing projects I’ve finally decided that it’s time to get back to it. When I say months I mean like more than half a year without spending more than an hour a week writing (usually less).
Of course, when anyone asks me how my writing is going I say, “Oh, it’s coming along,” or “I’ve got lots of ideas for it but I’m taking a little break right now.” That little break has lasted a lot longer than I initially intended. Do you know what I mean?
So, when I knew that October 1st was coming around I decided that would be THE DAY. The day to get back into a writing practice and revise my novels just in time for NaNoWriMo in November.
Q: Have you participated in NaNoWriMo?
I’ve recently picked up a deck of Oracle Cards and have been using them each morning to help set my intention for the day. I would ask a specific question or just for general guidance, close my eyes, take a breath and pick a card. My actions for the day would reflect the message I interpreted from that card.
On October 1st I asked the specific question:
“Should I begin re-writing my manuscript again and pick up where I left off?”
Guess what the card I drew was…
That NO card is a pretty clear sign right. I was expecting and ready for the universe to tell me YES, get straight back into it and stop wasting time. However, when I saw the word NO I felt relieved. It had been 8 months since I was fully immersed in this world. 8 months since I was as close as a pimple to my character’s minds. And after 8 months of not being that close and involved I didn’t feel comfortable diving back in head first.
Where would I start? What should I fix first? How do I go about this?
Seconds after the shock of the NO card wore off I had a thought. A rather large thought. I closed my eyes and asked another question:
“Should I outline my novel again and gain a birds-eye perspective of the story first?”
The next card I picked was this one:
The description of this card said something about these Mintakan living in a watery world where the water was clear to see through for miles and miles – interpreting that message as: I need to have it clear in my mind what I was going to write. Clear and cleanly thought out.
I didn’t need to read anymore. I had my answer, and I felt happy and comfortable with my choice. Even though I used the Oracle Cards to help me obtain answers to my questions at the end of the day it was still my choice whatever I did.
Q: Does the thought of outlining make you squeal with excitement or howl with hatred?
Deep down I knew that I dreaded jumping into the re-write right away because of all the new ideas I had for the novel. With all my new ideas I hadn’t mapped out what was going to happen where and it overwhelmed me just thinking about it.
Asking the universe for a sign and knowing deep down that outlining before writing again was the right option for me, I felt at peace when I sat down to begin my first writing session in months.
My two nuggets of advice for someone who is beginning a new writing project or taking up one that hasn’t been touched in a while are these:
Do what you feel comfortable with, and if you don’t know ask someone for guidance.
> It could be a mentor, friend or the universe. But start in a place that will help you gain momentum and enthusiasm for your work.
Start with a macro view.
> When you’re going on a road trip you type the destination into the GPS so you know you’ll end up at the right motel. Sure, you make detours from the GPS to explore and check out a side road or two but with your destination in the GPS you won’t get lost. I think it should be the same for writing. Have the ending in mind, and if you don’t have the ending (I didn’t for quite a while) pick a plot point in the story you know you want to get your characters to. Explore and pants your pants off but at least you’ll have a larger idea, a macro view of where your story is going. It really helps, trust me.