In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, novelist Peg Brantley talks about powering through when your draft seems to have hit a reef.
Sometimes when a writer digs, they find rich soil. Fragrant. The kind of dirt that sticks to your fingers just a little bit and compels you to bring it up to your nose to smell. The kind that brings images of lush growth. The kind where the fertilizer has long lost its poopy scent and blended perfectly into a pungent ripeness, ready for the touch of a master. It brings a promise all its own.
At other times, full of good intentions, a writer hits elusive sand. Or even worse, dense and sticky clay.
So what then?
God, I wish I knew.
I have this amazing story that I’m about a quarter into. I have a self-imposed deadline (but it’s still a deadline), and the date is looking more impossible to achieve every day. I’m struggling to find my focus. My touch. The thing that brings magic to my writing. Energy.
Last night I returned from a week long road trip with my dad during which I wrote not one new word. That’s okay. Sometimes making memories is more important than making a sentence. Truly. And the road trip? Thirteen hours each way, fourteen if you count the breakfasts at Denny’s (which I don’t recommend) and stopping to fill up the gas tank. My dad’s nickname is Rocket-Ass when it comes to road trips. I sort of learned I have a bit of Rocket-Ass in me as well, but that’s another story. Right now all I feel is wiped out. Even with a good night’s sleep in my own bed.
I’m feeling as if I’ve lost my way. After the holidays I never really got back into gear. Tonight I feel as if getting back into gear is the least of my worries. I’ve misplaced the damn car.
Today I’ve been sidetracked. Do I have Amazon Author Pages up in all of the available countries, and if not, why not? Have I refilled all of the bird feeders? Watered the plants that need watering? Have I contacted all of the possible sites to announce the free dates next month for The Missings? Is the grocery list put together enough that I can run my other errands and hit the store without a repeat performance the next day? What about scheduling those dates with friends? Writing… it didn’t happen.
I know I need to just start digging. To believe that among the yucky clay I’m bound to find fertile loam.