Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Fricassee

It's bizarre how, when life is different for a while, the work/writing-related things feel like they're compartmentalized in a barely accessible part of my brain.

Does this happen to you?

I've got mega-family in town right now (some of them are leaving this morning), and I feel as though I'm looking at this blog through tinted glass.  I'm also feeling the slowly building pressure as we head toward Baker's Dozen season.  Because--GUESS WHAT!  The fun is starting sooner than you think.

As in, the first logline practice round will be later this month.  (I hate loglines.  Just so you know.)

(Okay, I only hate my loglines.  They are on the low end of my skill set.)

Anyway, consider this your first heads-up for the Baker's Dozen Agent Auction.  I'll post all about it next week, so those of you who are new to our party will understand what it's all about.  All I'll say right now is--YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS.

In the meantime, tell me about your non-writing coping mechanisms.  As in, when you're in the midst of a family visit or an unexpected event or anything that tears you away from your writing (and, indeed, the writing world in general--I've barely tweeted this week, so you know I'm out of my element!), how do you manage?  Do you find that you can switch easily back and forth between The Mode and Real Life?  Or do you twitch and gnash the entire time?

I am admittedly discombobulated!  And something tells me I'm not alone.

Happy weekend and hugs to all!  (Except those of you who were hiding behind chairs in our fantasy writers' lounge.)

(Oh, wait.  That was most of you...)



  1. Yes, you are not alone. Usually I'll spend time thinking about my book, rather than writing. I don't give myself enough time to do this in the day to day so it always turns out that the "break" I wasn't looking for helps me refocus.

  2. Whenever I'm separated from my regular writing schedule, I feel all out of sorts. When I return to normal life, I usually find the time away refreshes my writerly brain and I'm better off for the mental vacation. :)

  3. My most used tool to get back into the mood is certaintly music. I can listen to something that I associate with my story, with inspiration, and within an hour I'm feeling ready to start writing. If you need to feel sad for a char, play a sad, dark, powerful song. If you need to feel like someone is a badass for the scene you're on, there's tons of music out there for that too!

    Don't worry Authoress, you'll find out how to get back into the swing of things.

    You mentioned pesky log lines -- I've found a lot of great hooks on Agent Query Connect. (In fact, I am addicted to reading them!)

    One of my favorites that have come out of there belongs to debut author Jessice Khoury, Origin.

    Her hook was, "Mankind has reached perfection—but she comes at a terrible cost.

    Now, I've not managed to write a really killer hook yet, but that doesn't mean you can't! Gather some inpsiration and experiment like crazy. You can do it! Good luck :)

  4. I'm so excited about BD this year! A couple of R&Rs have slowed my querying down to nothing so I'll actually be able to enter this time!
    Also, OT, i had a dream last night that i discovered who you really are... Is your name: Christie Allen? If so, let me know! (it'll be our little secret...)

  5. I have a problem putting the writing aside. Though I have the luxury of dedicating one hour every day to my obsession, it's hard to banish my stories (or those of my critique partner) from my mind for the rest of my waking hours.

    When someone says or does some interesting or quirky thing around me, I immediately visualize a character doing or reacting to it. I've taken to carrying a note card and pen everywhere. I jot the incident down to ensure I don't forget it. That frees me to get on with my real life.

    Thankfully, my friends and family accept my quirks. They pretend not to notice when I halt in mid-stride and whip out paper and pen. They simply wait patiently until my focus returns.

    God love 'em.

  6. People are dreaming about finding out who you really are...I got a kick out of that.

    Anyway, my life tears me away from writing pretty often, and if I'm in the middle of a revision it makes me feel torn apart. If I'm between projects, which I am now and I have a houseguest coming next week, it's easier, but the longer I don't work on something the more crazy (and usually unhappy) I get.

    I hate log lines too. Can you have your bot guy invent a CREATE YOUR LOGLINE app? Please?
    Thanks. :)

  7. I just left that comment above and I saw the name and thought, "Hey, that was me! Who the heck is Mike Noonan?"
    Evidently, one of my aliases (that I forgot about).
    Good grief. Google taking over so many sites is really confusing sometimes.

  8. I feel like I've been out of sorts for a while now. Two weeks of getting ready for a convention, and this month I'm packing house to move. Then, for three months, I'll be staying with friends until my permanent living situation opens up.... what I really need to do is learn to write even though those disruptions are happening around me.

    I'm a creature of habit, though. I have my time, my laptop, my special spot, and it's hard to think outside of that. I took a notebook to Con and wrote in it a little. I need to manage a coping strategy for moving and couch surfing.

    But to get back into my writing when the chaos passes, I do a combination of some of the comments above. I use the chaos time to think about plot points and such so that when I'm ready to write, I'll have something to write. And then I have songs that remind me of certain characters or certain scenes, and I listen to them to get back into the mindset.

  9. I made the mistake of having my parents come stay with me for two weeks, a week after moving to a foreign country. Not only has it been incredibly stressful, but I haven't had any time to write, and it's making me nuts! I'm hoping I can squeeze in some writing time this weekend. Otherwise, I'll just continue counting down the days till things return to semi-normal (as in I'll still be living in a foreign country, but at least I'll be able to write!).

  10. Sounds like I am not alone in this either.
    When my kids were younger and I had to be at the playground with them, or poolside, I'd bring a composition book and write by hand.
    Now, to switch my brain from my other life as a host/singer, I'll read blogs or search twitter for contests--Oh, like the Baker's Dozen-- and get my writer brain back. Of course nothing like forcing yourself to write a short story out of the blue--with a few days notice. That usually jump starts things for me.

  11. Authoress, you are NOT alone. I have a hell of a time switching between the social version of me and the novelist version. The longer I go without writing, the more itchy and out of sorts I get! There should be a warning label out there alerting potential novelists that writing is addictive and there is NO cure! Write, sleep, eat, work to pay for bills, eat, shower, write, write, write, repeat.
    Doesn't leave much room to shoehorn in interruptions. So when family's in town, there's no choice but to shut down the novelist side of my brain. I don't think it's fair to the family members for me to be anguishing over that scene I need to get back to instead of listening Aunt Bethany retelling the story of why she now walks with a limp. Three rubber bands, a bottle of Jagermeister and a pair of pliers? Really, Aunt Bethany? That sounds like an episode of MacGyver gone wrong.
    Even with the family dwelling under the same roof, as much as I love 'em and am appreciative they're checking for a pulse, I can't go from my action scene to what movie we should watch later that evening in two seconds flat. When they leave I'm left staring at the screen wondering who I am and what I was doing. ARG!

  12. I've been dealing with this issue a lot due to demands from my day job (which is why I'm not as active here and elsewhere as I'd like). What I do is use the time away from writing to observe how folks interact, the fascinating intersection between vocal and body language and group dynamics. During breaks, I take notes for later use.

  13. Love Mike Noonan's idea for a log line generator. I picture it sort of like Madlibs. Enter proper noun, action verb, conflict, consequences and presto-chango, concise, compelling log line.

    Sign me up.

  14. This happens to me too. I almost feel lost when I'm out of my routine and then when I dive back in I have to oil my gears. It scares me sometimes, but once I get my groove back all is right with the world. I have to say, it does help clear my mind so when I finally get back into it I can write quickly.

  15. It's a horrible feeling when I can't access the writer lobe of my brain. Usually, I'm always thinking about my characters and story, but lately all this real life stuff has seriously restricted my accesss. What helps me is watching a movie or reading a book. These two things tease my imagination to come out of its cave.

  16. There are advantages to living alone. My dog usually doesn't need much more company than lying beside me on the floor, as long as we get in some cuddle time at some point.

    But when I had a work trip a few weeks ago, I was a-MAZED at how easily it got me out of my writing groove. I write in the evenings after dinner, but during the work trip had other obligations and didn't get much writing in aside from a random free afternoon.

    Even at the airport on Sunday I felt that I needed to interact with my colleagues instead of even daydreaming about my novel (if I'd felt uncomfortable getting out the laptop to write in the airport; didn't get a chance to test it).

    Then even after the trip, it was much harder to get back into my writing groove. First evening back I just couldn't get any words on the page. Next day was better, thankfully.

    What I most often do to jog myself is write in my journal. It doesn't have to be about the novel; it can be anything. Though usually I complain about being stuck and come up with a new idea while complaining. :) It's nice.

    I've also popped in some old episodes of Buffy, just because I like Joss Whedon stuff and need some reinspiration from a hero. Neil Gaiman works for that, too.

  17. My kids are still young, and I work full time, so getting interruptios is the norm. The problem comes when I don't grt my time. Let's just say I get a little moody. I hope you can hang in there.

  18. Baker's Dozen already? Wow! I love the Baker's Dozen. I made it into the finals last year and got a few requests. Even though none of the requesting agents signed me, three months later I signed a two-book deal with a publisher. I should actually write this in a letter for the Success Stories section, shouldn't I?

  19. Whenever I'm separated from my writing for too long, I start to doubt myself and wonder if I'll ever be able to write again. I am the quintessential insecure writer. haha.

    I like having my schedule and working on my book almost always makes me happy, even if all I'm doing is edits.

    Can't wait to find out what the Bakers dozen is all about. I'm a new follower, but it sounds exciting. :)

  20. School just started back up a few weeks ago and I'm still discombobulated from the switch. So really, if you discover any amazing coping mechanisms, send them my way!

  21. I'm discombobulated most of the time, now that school has started. I only get ONE HOUR to write per day so I have to start focusing/blocking out as soon as I get up.
    Can't wait for Baker's Dozen. I hosted practice loglines last year on my blog - it was a blast! If you need more hosts, let me know.

  22. I am bipolar and a lot of my down times comes from depression. But when I am up I don't let things distract me. I am always running dialog and scenes and lines in my head. Thankfully, they get stuck there and wait for their turn to come to life. Writing IS an addiction that you can never break.
    I am positive the last words I will speak in this world will be-I love you too-can you check on the response to my last query letter?