It’s been no secret that I’ve had a lot of factors vying for my attention recently. My wife’s too. I actually just texted her “hello” as I realized I hadn’t heard from her in hours – we lightly keep in tough throughout the day – and she responded that she’s “Having a baby shower, actually.” At work. Well, that beats my day …
Actually, I’m pretty pleased with how life is going today. That’s because I’m finally getting back into a groove with my latest novel. Nothing is more annoying than a writer talking about how s/he can’t write. This isn’t that, it’s more validation that the Jane Goodall method is a thing. I’ve mentioned it in a previous post and it’s fast becoming how I view writing.
It’s weird because throughout the day, I’m typically thinking about the part I just wrote, what the scene needs in the immediate future and where the scene will eventually end up, among other things book related that come to mind. It’s not uncommon for a snippet of dialogue or a line of description to just pop into my head involving something much, much later. I jot those down and incorporate them into my outline. Anyway, I bring this up, because lately, this thinking-prewriting method just isn’t cutting it. I’m squeezing the mental fruit, but I’m not getting any juice. It’s not writer’s block, it’s more like I don’t really know what’s happening and then I sit down and I’m a discovery writer all of a sudden. The good news is that the more I’m doing it, the more the scene is starting to form in my head again so I can return to form. It’s a strange wall of sorts for me because I’m really not much of a discovery writer. I can admit that now. High School Dan, though, he was ONLY a discovery writer. He not only laughed at outlines, he openly lashed out against them. Now? I can’t get anything done without an outline. And this novel in particular has the strongest outline I’ve ever made. I have story structure beats built right into it this time so hopefully that’ll cut a little bit off of the editing process.
I’ve also switched up the music I’ve been listening too. Well, the music has evolved is probably a better descriptor. I don’t necessarily write to a specific “soundtrack,” but since a lot of my writing is done at work or in a public place, I need to listen to music to cut out the surrounding noise. I can’t concentrate otherwise. Because of that, I also can’t listen to anything that has vocals. That’s just as distracting as someone talking into my ear. Sometimes more so.
My first two novels were written to a movie soundtrack station on Pandora – stopping of course every time anything from Jurassic Park came on – and by my third book I had discovered music on YouTube and listened to just about anything that had the word “Epic” in the title. I think I’ve cleaned most of those channels out by now and I was writing sort of a party scene at night for this fourth book and needed some ambient beats to get me in the mood. I started listening to some kind of ambient/trance stuff and it just stuck. Who knows? Maybe this has become the “soundtrack” to this one, but now when I start writing it’s not that I can’t work without these psychedelic jams, it’s that I’m bored of the previous material and for whatever reason this is doing it for me. Hey, whatever works right?
I’m starting to see the critters coming out of the trees again and boy have I missed them. I’m pretty psyched to see what they show me next.