One Writer’s Journey

September 2, 2016

Jump-Starting a Stalled Project

back to workYesterday, I wrote about how I choose what I work on next.  Ironically, as I saved the post, my inbox pinged.  It was a message from Redline.  Do I want to work on a new series?

This is how I pay the bills and fortunately, most of what I want to get done NOW will be pretty simple.  I’ll still have the time and energy to get started on this and that’s a good thing.  I need to have it done October 12.

But doing work-for-hire like this means that I often end up abandoning another project.  My book on puke got put aside to work on Hidden Human Computers. Fortunately, I had an editor who was enthusiastic about the project and wanted to see it by a specific date.  An enthusiastic editor plus a deadline are highly motivating.

But I’ve also had to set aside Iron Mountain.  At this point I’ve taken about 3 months off and won’t get back to it for another 6 weeks.  How do you jumpstart a project after a long absence?

Let go of the guilt.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve taken time off because of an illness, a move or a paying project, set any guilt aside.  Guilt weighs us down as creative types and as long as you are carrying it you aren’t going to make forward progress.  (Thank you to Marcia Patterson who brought this realization home to me.)

Go back to your inspiration.  This manuscript was inspired in part by two things – a tv series and a book.  Fortunately it is a tv series that my son and husband also love so I’ll have company when I sit down to watch a few episodes aver the next several weeks.  Every time I watch this program, I want to dabble in my own universe.

Do a bit of research.  It may be because I’m a hardcore nonfiction writer, but research always inspires me.  This weekend my father-in-law took me around a log cabin that he and some friends restored.  Tucked into a cupboard were the Foxfire books.  Paging through technology that is similar to what my characters use will inspire me to get back to their world.

Create a board.  I’ve already got a Pinterest board for the book. If I didn’t, I’d create one.  Instead, I’ll be adding to the one I already have, amping up my enthusiasm to spend some more time on Iron Mountain.



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