You know how people at holiday parties find out that you are a writer, and rush to tell you a great idea that they would write -- if only they had time? But you could write it for them? For free?
I always say "thanks, but I already have something in mind." After all, if we don’t have things to say and stories to tell, then we wouldn’t be writers, right?
Except this holiday season, I didn’t have anything in mind. I just didn’t want to write someone else’s story. I want to come up with my own. My resolution for 2014 is….to start a new novel.
Usually I have a plethora of ideas, but not this time. I may have a few fancy words (like plethora), but not enough of them to string together. This gap in my creativity could easily be attributed to chemo brain, but there is also the fact that I spent so many years perfecting What A Mother Knows, I’m not sure how to top it.
Vacation! That’s right, time to rest and refresh. Banging your head against the keyboard only gives you a headache. If you can’t go on vacation, check out this gorgeous sunset over the water and pretend you’re there. See? Already you are using your imagination.
Now, it’s time to sign off from Facebook and lock the refrigerator.
My first novel, 66 Laps, was inspired by a bestseller that I thought I could improve on in a unique way.
My second, Wife Goes On, sprang up practically overnight.
My latest, What A Mother Knows, was prompted by a combination of events that lingered on my mind for years....
This time, I'm going to have to work at it.
Here’s the plan:
1. Read novels. It’s not procrastination, it’s research!
2. Brainstorm a list of new ideas, however lame.
3. Dig into files for old abandoned bits and pieces of stories.
4. Eavesdrop everywhere you go - for character insight.
5. Make a list of what you liked about those novels, those old bits, those overheard conversations. Pinpoint the element in each that makes it compelling.
6. Think. This is the hardest part, since there’s no proof of progress. When you are done thinking, let your mind wander.
7. Keep a pad by your bed for potential epiphanies. It can happen!
8. Take a walk or a bubble bath and let your mind wander.
9. Play with titles.
10. Try again tomorrow.
If all goes well, we’ll be writing again soon.
If not, let’s start over at #1: Read more novels. Especially novels by my fabulous Girlfriends!