When the Creative Mind Goes Rogue

Last week I finalised (and PDF-ed, I always feel like that is completely final) the opening of my work-in-progress/manuscript/obsession so I can send it to a few different places for perusal by gate-keeper-type people. It was a big effort to get that done and I had some lovely help along the way but it was a lot of mornings given over to editing, making margins the right size, checking submission guidelines, editing, worrying, checking and tiny panics.

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The words I had to check I hadn’t overused in my MS. Haha.

And no writing.

Now the submissions are done, I need to be writing again but because I’ve fallen out of the habit with the current work my creative brain has been scheming and deviously plotting for ways to distract me.

I’ve been watching published authors on social media trying to force themselves back into writing after the giddiness of publication and events and signing lots of books . There are various ways they’ve made themselves go back to the work.

They have left social media (most come back almost immediately, which I love because, so human!), gone to libraries, posted word counts, asked communities for help, made rules for themselves, written blog posts…oh the irony!

Whatever works, right?

I’m back at my desk this morning, the first morning of the school holidays (for me this means two weeks to cram in all the things I want to do during term time but can’t) and I’m warming up by writing this post. Because words are words, in the end.

But, my creative mind has been scheming. It doesn’t want me to write my viable, serious, taken-years-to-develop manuscript. It is demanding I work on a new project. And just to make sure I cannot look away, it has made this project so different from all my other work and all my desires for my other work, different from anything I want to have my name attached to. Thanks very much, creative brain!

In fact, this new project is so insistent that the other EVENING (I never write in the evening!!) it somehow got me to open a new Scrivener project and write the opening. And now I’m thinking about it all the time and I can’t close my writing brain during the day.

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I’ve been using fire-lighting-time to think about the new project and the metaphor is rather apt, don’t you think!

Don’t get me wrong, I love this new project and my current fantasy is that I will spend the two weeks I have at Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre later this year working on it. Except I can’t do that because I have to finish the other thing!

So, I’ve come up with a solution: the new project is to the old project what M&Ms are to marking. I used to mark student work with chocolate rewards (not anymore and I’m still looking for a good replacement). Mark one paper, get one M&M. My new project will be my writing reward. Write a scene for old project, I’m allowed to spend a bit of time on the new project.

And we shall see how long that lasts until I have to come up with another strategy. Any suggestions?

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