Sunday, July 8, 2012

Help! Help! Let Me Out of Here! - Getting the Book Out

Polly Darton
In another lifetime -- well, it was such a long time ago, it feels as if it were a lifetime -- I performed as a professional ventriloquist. (What fun that was! Something I may just pursue again some day!)

One of the routines, which most likely would be frowned upon and/or considered traumatic to the children of today, was having the ventriloquist dummy (yes, they're perfectly fine with being called that) in a suitcase, yelling to get out. "Help! Help! Let me out of here!"

The children of yesteryear thought this was hilarious and roared with laughter. (Ah, those were the days! Nothing like the sound of children's giggles and laughs to warm your heart.)

But just like the little wooden dummy wanting out of the box, when you have a book inside you that is struggling to get out, that story idea, those characters stay with you UNTIL you get the book out of your head.

How do we as writer's get the book out of hour heads and onto the page, via longhand, computer, NEO, etc.?

Over the years, one thing I've learned is that there is no ONE right answer to this question.

For some folks pursuing the spiritual route may be the way to go. Getting in touch with that author or writer within with meditation and techniques along the lines of self-hypnosis could be a perfect fit.

Others may flourish using writer's boot camp methods, with each day blocked out, planned, and set out to finish a book within a certain period of time.

There are those writer's that LOVE, LOVE, LOVE timers. Set that timer, and you write until time is up. (Such as 30 minute to 1 hour writing stints paced out throughout the day.)

Then there's the page count brigade. You write so many pages per day, five or six days per week.

Word Counting works for some, say a goal of 1,000 words a day (which if you wrote every day for a year would equal 365,000 words).

Goal setting which entails how much you will write per day, per week, per month, per quarter, per year might be an option.

Then there's the spreadsheet, character sketch, outline, form-filling crowd (known as plotters) as opposed to those that dive in and just write, write, write without pre-planning (pantsers).

From experience, I've learned that it's good to commit to a process and give it a realistic try; however, staying with a process that doesn't work, thinking it's YOU that's not getting it, just because someone tells you or promises you this is THE way, isn't the direction to go.

Beating myself up and struggling to make something work for me that obviously wasn't working cost me years of effort and results.

Flexibility and open-mindedness would have worked more in my favor.

My advice:
  • Experiment
  • Commit to a process for a reasonable period of time
  • Move on if a process doesn't work for you
  • Try different processes
  • Pick and choose aspects of multiple processes that work for you
  • Ask questions of those who have discovered their process
  • Seek assistance in finding your way (Courses, Workshops, Coaching, etc.)
  • Choose a process that works for you
  • Commit to getting the book out of your head
Without a commitment or plan, I doubt I will ever get these books out of my head, and they will be echoing, "Let me out of here!" inside my head for the rest of my life.

Good luck on your journey in finding and utilizing the process that works for YOU!

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