April 26, 2010

Discipline and Consistency

I've had an interesting weekend, getting to know my new puppy and watching him like a hawk! I've forgotten how babies need so much supervision. In some ways this has been a great thing for me. I couldn't get on the computer like I usually do in my free time. And you know what? I didn't miss it. Because I have a worthy cause...training my puppy to be a fantastic dog.

All this training and attention I've lavished on Titus makes me realize how much the books we write are just like little puppies. In the beginning we are so excited about the possibilities and jump into the venture with gusto. We love it! And then we get tired.

I've been exhausted, listening to Titus cry at night and chasing after him, trying to catch him before he relieves himself on my floors. It takes a lot of discipline and consistency. So it is with our books. It takes tons of discipline. We have to keep at it, even when it gets tough. The discipline and the consistency will help produce a book we can be proud of.

Really, it's the editing and revision where the discipline comes in. We fine tune our books, eliminating the unnecessary words, adding description, giving texture to a basic story. It is where we make our books listen to the storyteller and obey our commands. And this, my friends, is where I am sadly lacking.

As I've been thinking about a new story to write, I've been called back by my first MS. So I've been tinkering with it, trying to make it obey my commands. (Don't you love the word tinker?) And my excitement is coming back for it, strangely enough. Maybe I just needed time away.

Or maybe I'm too tired right now to have the energy to do the legwork for a new project. I'm still letting my new story "stew"...doing lots of daydreaming and scene visualizing, but that's about all I can handle right now.

Who knows, maybe when I get my energy back, I will go ahead with my new story idea. I'd really like to get a good jump on it this summer while I have extra time at home.

What a scattered post this is! Can you tell my brain is fried?

18 comments:

  1. I've dealt with the whole puppy-in-the-house thing before. Phew, they're cute, but such a handful!

    I liked your analogy, though. In my book I'm in the 'tired and exhausted' stage ;) I'm about halfway through the first draft and struggling to make myself finish it. But nope, starting today, I'm going to make myself write again :)

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  2. I love that word stew too! But that's exactly what I do with a story as well.

    Have fun with that puppy while it's still cute and cuddly.

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  3. You've reminded me again exactly why I don't want to get another puppy! They're adorable but oh so much work! :-)

    I think really anything about the writing life takes self-discipline, but perhaps there will be things about it that we don't like as much. And those things will take extra effort!

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  4. I don't have a puppy (cats are so much easier) but I once read to quiet the puppy at night, wrap a clock in a towel along with a warm hot water bottle, and bed puppy down for the night. The warmth and snuggly towel and the ticking of the clock will be like his mom. Have no clue if it will work, but might be worth a shot.

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  5. Puppies! It's a love-hate relationship! I think God made them so darn cute so we'd keep them. :-)

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  6. My husband and I were recently talking about how one of our puppies was almost as difficult as having our newborn!

    One of my old manuscripts is calling my name too. I think I'm going to try to wip it into shape before the ACFW conference in September!

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  7. My attention is being called by the next book too right now. I'm close to the end on revisions for this current WIP, but I want so much to abandon it and jump into the next story.

    So I outlined the first couple chapters of the next book, put it in a drawer and won't look at it again until the current book is done!

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  8. You sound like you're in the same place I am right now. Just finished one, have one I put aside, and another one brewing in my head.

    God bless

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  9. Yes! Writing a novel is JUST like training a new puppy. And I DO love that word tinker!

    I'm working hard on finishing my WIP and it's really making me look forward to the next one, that whole I'm-in-love-with-this-new-idea phase where I get to learn the plot and get to know my characters before the hard work begins.

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  10. Hey, your blog has a new name! I like it - and the subtitle. :) I also like the analogy of puppies to stories. They're both frustrating, infuriating - and totally worth the effort!

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  11. Hi Sherrinda -

    "Tinker" is a happy word.

    Your post is timely since I've been procrastinating today. And, yes, I'm in the editing stage.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  12. What a good "mom"! It takes dedication to train a puppy. You will reap the rewards and just have more to write about. Dogs are great lesson givers.

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  13. Sherrinda, I think it's important to let a new project sit for awhile. I feel certain that when this school year and the toughest stages of the puppy training are behind you a surge of creativity will infuse you and the new story will begin to flow from your fingertips.

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  14. I think it makes perfect sense! Puppies and books need lots of TLC, discipline and training, and just sheer elbow grease--grooming, cleaning up poop, clipping, enhancing...yep. It's perfect, Sherrinda!

    Go for it, girl.

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  15. I am all for letting new topics sit for a while. I think they need to brew, like a good cup of tea. You can't rush these things :)
    Oh, and enjoy that puppy. they grow too quick. A bit like kids hey

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  16. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. As any new addition, or with anything that brings us joy, they also bring the trials, which makes the joy so much sweeter, I find!

    Sometimes we just have to sit back and enjoy the entire view of the chaos our new addition has created. And in that place, be okay, and trust it is all workng out as planned. The puppy will be trained and the story will unfold, even while cleaning up the messes, and creating other scenes along the way.

    Love the analogy!

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  17. A good analogy, I think. I myself need some serious discipline.

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  18. You really hit home here! I just started babysitting my new grandson. He and Mommy are home sick today, or I wouldn't be here now. I've no time for reading blogs or anything else.

    I've decided to stop thinking about my manuscript for awhile. Until he gets on a schedule, I'm giving him my undivided attention. And, when the time comes, I plan to do the same for my WIP.

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