Thursday, June 7, 2018
Jumpstarting by Jane Kindred
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.
Jane Kindred is the author of the Harlequin Nocturne series, Sisters in Sin, and the epic fantasy series The House of Arkhangel’sk, Demons of Elysium, and Looking Glass Gods. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.