If you visit writers’ blogs, chances are good you’ve come across the terms Pantser and Plotter. Writers use these terms to distinguish the style of writing they do; pantsers write by the seat of their pants, with no idea where the story is going. Plotters, no surprise (in more ways than one!), know where their story is going before they put finger to keyboard.
I am a pantser. I know the characters, I know why they absolutely should not be together, and that I am going to force them together nonetheless, but I have no idea how I am going to get them there. Which is fine if you’re working on the story steadily, but what about if you take a break?
I just returned from a vacation to Portland, OR, where I drank coffee, shopped for books, and hung out with my best friend. Note that I did not write. So now I’m back in Brooklyn with REALITY staring me in the face. Not the laundry, that’s doable, or the dishes, or the fact that the Spouse DID NOT BUY MILK even though I have an issue with not enough milk in the house (see the coffee comment for a clue). All manageable, albeit with much gnashing of teeth.
No, the problem is that I have to pick up the threads of my story and start weaving them together again. And since I write by feel, that’s really, really hard. To put it in perspective, think about misplacing a book you’re in the middle of reading–you locate it about a week or so later, with relief, but you don’t remember exactly why it’s important she revenge her father, or he has trust issues, or whatever. If you’re reading the story, you can get past that. If you’re writing the darn thing? Yow. Hard work.
So today I am buying milk, doing laundry, and heading off again to collect my son from his grandmother’s house. Monday I launch myself back into writing, where I hope I can figure out where the heck I was going when I last touched the story.
So–what do you do to jumpstart a project? If you’re a writer, how do you convince yourself to write again after a break?
Start Me Up,
PS: I don’t know if you can read it all, but the album cover is a movie soundtrack featuring “Let’s Do It Again” by the Staple Singers. I just love the Staple Singers. Mavis Staples has one of the sexiest voices in the universe, and this song seemed appropriate.