The limited number of hours I get in the day to spend writing usually get tacked on the end, somewhere between 8 and 10. Which is fine, except when I get on a roll. Then, after I’m cajoled into retiring to bed with my laptop. I find myself in one of two places. The first place is where I’m just too tired to think. This is the where I am most often. Nothing for it, can’t be creative when I can’t keep my eyes open. The other thing that happens is I gain the kind of focus usually reserved for those college students cramming for an exam or putting the finishing touches on (actually doing) a project. I think about it as problem solver brain (more accurately known as being manic). I get so focused on solving a problem, I can’t rest until it’s done or I have a solution in mind that will work – I just can’t stop thinking about it.
Even though it makes for some rushed mornings and tired days, it’s this sort of manic focus that has gotten me as far as I have. No matter what is going on in my life, and there have been times when I’ve just not even been able to think about writing for weeks or months, I keep coming back to my story, and writing in general. I don’t know if this is one of the things that helps to make a good writer, but this sort of persistence is certainly going to help cross the finish line.
Such great advice. Not that anyone actually follows it. I’m certain I didn’t anyhow. The current fantasy project I’m working on started out as a single hand-written page concept for a science fiction story, my notes put it sometime in 2004. Although I had a character and some very basic ideas about his circumstances, I didn’t have a beginning. So, I went looking for one. The circumstances for my character were somewhat fantastical and so the history became fantastical, which eventually led me to a setting in which you would expect a high fantasy to occur. This process also introduced other characters and conflicts, which eventually eclipsed the original concept as the more interesting story. Even then, I still didn’t have a beginning. In the vain hope of a beginning coming to me, I spent years creating maps and languages, people and history. After that, I still didn’t have a beginning, so I started writing-up the back-stories of characters I’d developed for this world. Finally, in desperation, I did a global search and replace of a name in one of these back-stories just to see what might happen, and suddenly I had my beginning. The next few chapters came easily over the course of a couple of weeks. I felt really good about them too. Then, I asked several people to read over the work. Needless to say, the beginning, and the bulk of the subsequent chapters, only vaguely resemble what I started with, but the core of my story remains, and I’m still making progress.