Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting into the flow

I finally got into the flow . . .

For weeks I have been struggling with one chapter for my novel, "Rebecca's Journey." The characters, dialogue and scenes were in my head and heart. They just wouldn't come through onto the written page or the computer screen.

My scribblings made little sense. Tidbits of ideas marked margins. Arrows followed sentences from one part of a paragraph to another. I just couldn't figure out what to do, or what was going on. Finally I turned to help from a writer's group I belong to, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I received many replies with many suggestions. The most common suggestion was to just write through it. I couldn't even make complete sentences. I was told outlining would help. I did that. It helped a bit.

How did I manage to get into the flow? Well, it seems silly, but this is it.

I tend to write in a small three ring binder with notebook paper. This binder contains a list of contests and markets I'm interested in along with their deadlines. It has several pockets in it and holds a pencil bag. It includes the untyped interview I did with a man for the newspaper. It contains ideas, dreams, and information about the upcoming conference for my local writer's group. A few articles. In other words, my notebook is full. I would be lost without it.

I was being distracted by the other things in it.

So, I went into the "back room," got a brand spanking new five subject notebook with pockets. I put my character sketches, list of the order the wagons would begin in on this wagon train, the names of the characters I will use, and the first chapters. I tucked those things into the pockets.

Then, I started writing. And, the words flowed. The chapter isn't finished. I usually catch most of the basic problems when I type it. Then more with critiques from my instructor at Long Ridge and friends.

The lesson learned--remove distractions, even if you don't believe they are distractions. The only things that will be allowed in the notebook are things to help me finish my first novel, market it and get it published.

This is the day the Lord has made--and, it's a good one.



brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

Hi, Winona! I use a 3 ring binder and print out my chapters and use dividers for chapters, character sketch, time line, etc. I encourage my critique group to do the same. I like things organized. Good luck with your novel and thanks for taking an interest in my blog and book!

Mindy Blanchard said...

Hey Nona,

Great mountain - takes my breath away!

Congrats on finding the flow. I'm so proud of you. And you figured it out all on your own. So you don't have to look to others, girly, as you may find that you have the answers within you.

I have 5 notebooks going at a time, one in my car, one in my booksack, one at work, etc. I also use a binder for my Work in Progresses, containing my character sketches, pictures, chapter ideas, etc. I swear by it.

Its the only semblance of organization that exists in my life.

Good luck with getting that assignment finished.

See ya soon.


Jess said...

I'm a notebook person too. I keep my wip there but I can't write in notebooks any more. Used to, but now I do all my writing on the computer.

Glad you're producing! I hope to get back into the flow AFTER our conference--when everything is over, the lights are out and the bills are paid. :)

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

I sure wish I could find that flow. I'm distracted by everything. Soon . . .I keep saying.


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

this is wonderful news Nona!

I'm happy for you and proud