Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Brain Hurts -- Cheryl Renée Herbsman






















Have you ever met an author that seemed maybe just the littlest bit crazy?

I'm not the best at multitasking. I prefer to focus on one project at a time. But right now I'm at a point where I'm deep in revisions on one project, a manuscript in which I know the characters really well, understand the story and its elements, feel connected to the place and its drama. AND there's this other sparkly new idea for a story that is demanding my attention. Now I have to say, I absolutely adore the sparkly new idea phase. In fact, when I'm between projects and no new sparkly idea is coming to me it can send me into a state of panic, because I tend to assume the well has run dry and I will never again feel the rush of the sparkly new idea. But, like I said, I'm not a big fan of multitasking. I want to commit to one thing and focus on it one hundred percent (which fits in well with the whole hopeful romantic thing.) So trying to tease out the tangles of a nearly finished draft while at the same time being yanked into a brand new world can be a little overwhelming.

The sparkly new idea phase can feel a little like insanity. Imagine you're sitting at your child's ball game in the pouring rain cheering for your little tike even though you're freezing your butt off when suddenly a scene starts to play out in your head. Maybe it was the aggressiveness of the parents on the other team that set you off or maybe it was the way the rain splashed your face or maybe it was totally random, but suddenly you know you must find your way to a pen or a quiet space or you will lose the thread! Or maybe you just sit there and zone out and hope no one notices as the scene reveals itself to you. A thousand questions storm your mind: Who are these people in this scene? What's their story? Why are they doing what they're doing? And so on.

But in the meantime, you have to function like a normal person and cheer at the right time and get through the rest of the daily tasks and then when you do find time to work on the writing, you really should be addressing that tangly knot in the second act that you haven't quite fleshed out yet on that nearly finished revision and by then it's late and way past bedtime and you never did get a chance to write down that scene that was playing and now you've forgotten half of what happened, but you still have a vague sense of the essence of that character, but you don't know what her name is yet, but you know some of the names that definitely don't fit, and well, yeah, brain freeze.

Exhilarating --because maybe it's a great idea; and also terrifying -- because what if you can't quite get it right; and then also overwhelming -- because you haven't found the time yet and there are so many other responsibilities pulling at you, and yeah... so if you meet an author or you are an author or you're an aspiring author and they or you seem a little crazy, this may be why :) Still, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

7 comments:

  1. Someone I know calls it the "Slutty new idea." LOL. Because it comes along when you have another manuscript you are supposed to be faithful to! Sparkly is a little nicer. :)

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  2. I like sparkly new ideas too. They're so hard to ignore when they are fresh!

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  3. I've had a hard time with way too many sparkly new ideas lately. I have too many starts sitting on my computer. It was about to drive me crazy so finally I sat down and came up with a plan and I'm sticking to it! LOL. Of course, it's only been two days, but two awesomely, on-track writing days they have been! Of course, I'm not to the point of being in revisions at the time yet. We'll see how I do with that :)

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  4. @janet -- they *are* hard to ignore!
    @kelley -- good for you, two days is an accomplishment! and I saw your word counts somewhere -- very impressive ;)

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  5. I can't work on two projects at once, either. I have to inhabit one or the other. Right now my sparkly new idea is calling to me from the other side of the fence, while I revise away on the manuscript that I'm promised to :-)

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