Monday, November 5, 2007

Mission Impossible - When the story just won't end...

I'm just now coming up for air on the other side of a huge revision project. My agent suggested some changes that I immediately agreed would make my suspense story stronger. I set myself a deadline and got to work...

What day is it, again? J/k. =P

At first, I found it difficult to find the balance needed between disciplining myself to work and meeting my goals, and at the same time keeping myself distant enough from it to enjoy life in the meantime! For example, one Saturday I couldn't decide if I would attend my friend's family fall party as I had the past several years in a row because of these revisions. I hemmed and hawwed and finally decided to keep my commitment to my friend. I worked on the revisions that morning, and went with her in the afternoon. The time away from my computer was very refreshing and the time with my friend priceless. The next day I was fresh and ready to start again!

So it was a bit of a struggle, and a seemingly endless project. Incorporating one idea inspired another, which brought to mind a NEW motivation and a NEW conflict and a NEW layer...and on and on it went until I was afraid this MS would be 1,000,000 words!

But this past week, as I continued to make change after change, and "played dominos with my WIP" (you know, because one scene-change affects another which affects another, like a domino effect?) I realized that I was making it much harder than it needed to be. Yes, discipline was necessary and without it, I would have never met my goals as I did. But instead of locking myself in my office and denying all forms of Diet Coke until I reached a certain word count, I branched out a little.

For instance, one recent afternoon I went with my husband, sister, and my parents to the zoo in a Texas town about 2 hours away. My sweet father brought along his lap top, so guess who revised during the drive there and back? =) I found I was able participate in the family fun and jokes in the car, as well as make progress on my chapters.

Better yet, the change of scenery really inspired my creativity!

So don't make your mission more impossible than it needs to be! If you find yourself facing a huge project or deadline (from yourself or from someone else!) set goals, but don't forget to also set time to play. Reward yourself, but don't deny yourself. Try something new if you get stuck and see if that unlocks the gate of creativity!

And just remember, NOTHING is impossible with our Lord. No deadline, no revision, no story that seems to never end is too difficult for our God to help us with. He's there, waiting to guide us and give us the right words if we simply remember to ask.


Cathy West said...

Too true! Sometimes revisions do seem overwhelming, but I find when I take a break, which is hard for me to do, things go much easier after that. I know it's such a rush to finally finish the thing, but we want it to be our best, right? I'm still learning
discipline. It's never been one of my strong points!

Georgiana said...

Such a great reminder to take some down time. I think you make a great point about a change of scenery and hanging out with family/friends can inspire more creativity.

Lori said...

I agree! You never know when that good ole boy in the Chevy with the mudflaps and the gunrack who cut you off in traffic is going to plug up a plot hole. Or the checker at the grocery store, or the salsa at the restaurant, or the accidentally overheard converstaion about Janie's pregnancy woes...

Experience is to creativity what chocolate is to sisterchicks!