Saturday, March 20, 2010

Keeping energized about your writing

My good friend Diane and I are on a mini-vacation at my sister’s home in Mosier, Oregon, a little orchard town about an hour from Portland. I’m cat-sitting for my brother-in-law who’s headed off to the California deserts to photograph the spring flowers. Diane and I get to hang out in their gorgeous home and read and write to our hearts’ content (and play some canasta when we need a break).

Diane has just finished her first novel and is casting about for the next project. For the last year or so, her book was more work than fun as she did a lot of rewrites, got it edited, worked with the edits, wrote pitch letters, and started shopping for agents. The excitement of the plot unfolding, the characters revealing themselves, the ideas of how to move things along and what twists and turns to add, all of that faded in the seemingly endless editing and proofing.

While some of that is still going on, she is ready to turn her attention to something new. That sounds simple, but it isn’t necessarily. When you’ve been immersed in one project for years (7 for Diane), moving on seems hard to imagine.

Diane’s not one who lacks for ideas, and that in itself may be a problem. How do you focus when the possibilities are both numerous and open-ended. I suggested she begin by making a list of possible projects. It’s a fun game to play and something in particular may just say to her: Pick me!

Here’s the idea:

If you were going to write a Broadway musical, what would it be about?
An historical novel?

An epic poem?

An opera libretto?

A collection of short poems?

A memoir?

A biography?

A book of related essays?

A genre novel?

The text for a coffee table book of photos?

A self-help book?

A spiritually based book?

A daily meditation book?

A book on health?

A screenplay?

A documentary?

You get the picture. All the ideas that come are valid. You can have more than one possibility for each category. Share your list with us if you decide to play.

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