Manuscript Monday #18

Manuscript Monday is a series of blog posts which chronicle the life of my manuscript. It follows the journey I take to turn my week old baby story idea into a fully grown, polished novel. Take the journey with me. 🙂

My 18 week-old manuscript:

There’s a lull between Christmas Day and New Years Day that leaves me feeling in limbo. I’m still feeling the high of celebrating with family, but also attempting to organize the house after said celebration before the next celebration hits- on much less sleep than normal. The kids are home from school which means more activity. We have more family events which means more late nights. We have more hockey games which means well, more hockey! I think you get the idea. In fact I’m guessing many of you may be in the same boat as me this week.

With several days free of work and school though, I do feel out of sorts—in limbo. I’m not sure where to focus my free time. I have all these plans of what I’d like to do this week. Visit with friends. Have dinner with my husband. Host sleepovers. Finish up projects leftover from a fall bedroom remodel. Critique pages sent to me months ago from one of my long ago critique partners. Update the Book Nook. Read a book. Revise my manuscript. Polish my query letter. Write the synopsis. Go for a run…

And then there’s this 18 week-old manuscript.

When I think of it all, my head starts to spin and I have to slap myself to make it stop. Breathe. Breathe. Breath. One thing at a time. Enjoy the moment.

To combat these days of extra time and way too many high hopes for what I can realistically accomplish, I’ve decided to pick one thing at a time and just begin. That’s it. Just start the activity. Give myself a block of fifteen minutes and just start. Chip away at each thing little by little. That’s what I had to do to get this post written for today. And that’s what I’ve had to do to get any words written on this new manuscript. I sit down. I tell myself to just write whatever. Whatever. That’s it. Even if it stinks or doesn’t really go along with anything I’ve written before. And this new limbo strategy has worked for me. This is what I do:

I sneak over to my computer. I open the document. I take a sip of coffee (caramel swirl with Italian Sweet Cream creamer). I scroll down to the last word written. I look at the clock. I instruct myself to write without stopping for fifteen minutes. I do as I have been instructed and I write whatever—whatever comes to mind for those fifteen minutes. That’s it. Then at the end of fifteen minutes, if no emergency (aka no one calling me away from my happy place) has happened, I keep writing. Before long I don’t need myself to be a coach shouting instructions and motivational quotes. I can coach myself. I can write without it.

Sometimes these sessions last fifteen minutes. Sometimes they turn into an hour. But in this week of limbo, I’ll take whatever I can get because it feels good to write—to make progress and give some love to my 18 week-old manuscript. The task doesn’t seem so overwhelming when I just sit down for a little bit to get some words down on the page.

So what about you? Have you been able to write at all during the holiday season? Do you have any tricks to share?

I guess I’m off now to stain the new window we put in my son’s room last month. The poor kid has a Buffalo Sabres blanket draped over it because I can’t hang the blinds until I stain the window. He doesn’t seem to mind but I’ll be happy to check that off my list!

Have a crazy fun week. I hope you can check things (writing related or not) off your list too. Oh and enjoy the moment. That’s a good thing to do too!!

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