Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reboot, Retry, Retreat ... Repeat

I just arrived in Birmingham, England, after an overnight flight with the usual free time. Now I'm at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, with the day off, surrounded by quiet places, all kinds of encouragement for writers — and I didn't bring my book to work on.

You may be thinking: *face-palm* Beth! Why didn't you bring your novel? Well, for starters, it's in the second draft stage, printed out, and weighs about 10 pounds. I simply could not see lugging that giant binder around with me when I'm traveling light. If I had been working on it consistently, I would have brought the latest chapters to work on, but I'm just not there.

After months of hiatus, I restarted writing several weeks ago. I started with Debbie Ohi's 500 Words A Day challenge. Although I didn't write as many days per week as I wanted — what with two jobs and irregular work schedules — it really did help get my mind back into writing mode. I wrote at least 500 words at each sitting, about anything.

After a couple of weeks of journaling and writing exercises, I felt ready to reboot the novel. I turned to the Writer's Toolbox (a Christmas gift  :-)  which had some helpful ideas. One of them was to start at the beginning and retype the book. Since my revisions have been mostly handwritten, I thought typing it in would be a good place to start. I went to a cafe on a Monday and worked away! Chapter 1, editing as I go, yay! I felt ready to keep going in the days ahead.

On Tuesday, a dear friend died. Frankly, there are some days when you just don't feel like writing. I don't mean the procrastination kind of feelings, I mean the world-turned-upside-down kind.

A week later, on Monday, I headed out to the cafe and started again. Then I started working extra days, getting ready for this vacation. Am I the only one who glances at these writer blogs where they all say "Just do it!", sighs and says: someday...? They make it sound so easy. But, even if I have to start over every week, or even every month, I'm going to write this book!

I plan to do research for the second book when I go to London next week. I did bring my laptop and a notebook, and pieces of the first novel are probably somewhere in my head. Maybe I will find the inspiration here to start pouring good bits and pieces onto the page or screen.

But for right now, I'm at this beautiful retreat centre, surrounded by nature, wildlife, and Earl Grey tea. And I'm going to retreat.

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre

Japanese Garden at Woodbrooke

1 comment:

Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) said...

What a beautiful space! Our experience of Birmingham will be much less peaceful, I think. Someday, I want to take a trip to England that's more about study and retreat but that won't be this one.