With Starling out now, and a couple of weeks without externally imposed deadlines, Racheline and I are getting back in the groove of making words instead of editing or marketing them. Which, after an extended period of fine-tuning final final final editing, can be really hard. And in order to get anything done at all, we have to keep reminding ourselves that all a first draft has to do is exist, that ALL of our first drafts are a complete mess, that we always make it gorgeous, and that the pain of doing so is part of our process.
Momentum is important in Doing the Thing — once you get started, it gets much easier to keep going. This past Saturday we were in the Philly writing office, getting our head back in a story we haven’t been able to touch for a few weeks. And god, it was hard. We managed to get a couple of scenes down on the page, really roughly, and then tried to figure out when we could take a break and go get dinner.
“Let’s just finish this scene,” I said, “and get to a good stopping point.”
“No no no,” Racheline said. “Let’s finish this scene and start on the next and get to a bad stopping point. ‘Cause then it’s easier to start again.”
There’s a frustration that comes with not finishing a scene. And in a way, gaming that reaction to make sure that, no matter how tired and frustrated and out of it we are, we want to come back to the story, is our very own personal method of Leave Them Wanting More that Victor champions so highly in Starling.
Because when we write, we do it to tell the story that we want to and that we just can’t let go of (and that won’t let go of us.) We’re our own first audience. And if we can keep our own attention, we’re probably doing all right.
So here’s to finding and keeping the momentum, because getting that going is fucking HARD. What’s your momentum!thing this week, and how are you keeping it up (or trying to get it started?)
I always leave off in cliff-hanger places because I love to make my beta-reader/best friend scream, “OMG, THAT’s where you decided to stop?? Where’s the rest??” This both amuses and motivates me…though I am glad most of our correspondence is online, lest she decide to at some point take our her frustration upon my delicate person.
I think that’s a great idea. If I finish a scene, it’s sometimes hard to pick up next. Stopping in the middle might help!
This week, my momentum goals are writing every day, and job hunting. Slightly derailed by being turned down for a position (after the 4th round of interviews) but that’s actually lit a bit of a fire. Trying to keep it stoked without burning out is a balancing act.