Thursday, June 7, 2018

Jumpstarting by Jane Kindred

If you’ve seen my recent posts, you know that I’ve been going through an extremely dry spell. The well of ideas I’ve been dipping into since childhood has been coming up with a ladle full of nothing but dust. Though I tried to drag two murky characters up to the surface and into the light (okay, so it’s a mixed metaphor; just go with it), “Armand and William,” mentioned in my previous blog post, refused to speak to me. Even after I threatened William with being called “Billy.”

I took a week off from work at the end of May just to make myself write something, anything…and did nothing but work puzzles on my iPad and color in my mandala coloring book while watching Hallmark mysteries and romances. (In other words, the same things I’ve been doing for months.) Since finishing the final book in the Sisters in Sin series in February, I hadn’t written a single word.

But this past Sunday, I decided to go to a café down the street and try to write. Part of my difficulty with writing in recent months is dealing with my elderly cat and his literal caterwauling every moment that he’s not sitting in my lap, so I thought maybe a change of scenery with less howling would work. I honestly didn’t think it would, because I usually can’t write with other people around, but I was sick of hating myself for doing nothing. I got a latte and a pastry, perused social media until the pastry was done, and then set the timer on my phone, telling myself that I had to write for 15 minutes, no matter how stupid the words, and then I could look at Twitter again for 5 minutes as my reward. (A dubious reward, but these are dubious times.)

And despite the fact that there was music playing in the café, another thing I usually can’t write with, I just started writing a completely new story. And I wrote for three hours.

It’s some serious crap at the moment, but it’s crap with promise. Two new characters (not the sulking Armand and pouting William—who can just sit there and think about what they’ve done until I’m good and ready to listen to them should they deign to speak) just came out to play like they’d been there all the time. I wrote 1,800 words, and on a second day at the café, I managed another 2,000.

I’m still mostly unable to write at home (thanks, cat), but my head is no longer echoing like a new apartment without furniture or rugs while I wander around in it aimlessly. There are unpacked boxes in the corner to go through and interesting clutter lying about that needs to be assembled into something usable. And I’m also channeling my rage at current events into this new space instead of trying to keep it clean and nice for company, so things could get interesting.

I still don’t know where or when the story takes place or any of the specifics of the plot beyond a very vague beginning and a fairly definite end (and, of course, a love story), but I’m hopeful that those will come. I might not have any idea where I’ll end up, but at least I have a beginning. Sometimes you just have to piece together a bunch of disembodied parts and apply a little voltage and see what happens. Even if what you end up with turns out to be a little misshapen, the important thing is that it’s alive.


Maureen said...

That's wonderful! I'm so happy that you were able to start writing again.

Diane Burton said...

Jane, I'm thrilled for you. Wow. You wrote for 3 hrs? Wonderful. 3800 words in 2 days? Double wonderful. I think you've found your place.So glad you have 2 characters willing to talk to you. Pfft on Armand and William/Billy. I hope they learn their lesson. Keep going!

Jane Kindred said...

Thanks, guys! :) I was truly convinced my writing days were over for the foreseeable future. Now I’m in that place where I find other activities (like pesky day jobs, lol) annoying, because I have words to make.

Denise Covey said...

Way to go. I love writing in cafes. It's the one place I seem to be able to tolerate noise. Hope the cat's okay.

Nightingale said...

This was an excellent post and one that I needed because I've been in writer's block hell for a few months. I'll find a cafe and give your recipe a try, Janet.

Francesca Quarto said...

If your books reads as wonderfully as your post here did, it will be an outstanding piece of work! Thanks for your humor in a time of darkness. Those empty times, when the Muse has taken up residence elsewhere!
May you enjoy many fine lattes!

Francesca Q.

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Congrats! I know several authors who write in coffee shops, so perhaps it's trending!