And Now, For Something Completely Different

We went camping this weekend, 7 (or was it 8?) families at a beautiful lake in west Texas. I was stressing about losing the weekend, which is usually prime writing time, to the fun but mindless task of packing, driving, unpacking, cooking, herding kids, organizing hikes, etc. and worried that it would eat into my weekly page goal.

But the opposite actually happened. Getting away from the city and the computer for a few days was the best thing that could have happened. The overdoses of sugar, junk food, hyperactive children and fresh air acted like a kind of spa treatment on my brain, flushing all of the crap out of there so that when we returned last night I was working with an almost blank slate.

I’ve just started a new section of the book and am switching POV for awhile, and was having trouble settling into the new character’s skin. Today when I sat down to read what I’d completed so far, I scrapped the whole thing and started over. The result is much, much better than what I had going into the weekend.

It takes a ton of routine and discipline required to plug away at a book which could never see the light of day, but I’m finding that it’s going to be important for me to step back and build in regular “off the beaten path” experiences as well to ensure that the creative juices keep flowing.

Some notable quotes overheard this weekend … maybe future fodder for a story line or scene:

  • 8-YEAR OLD GIRL: “My dog ate my brother’s umbilical cord.”

  • 6-YEAR OLD GIRL: “[Redacted] just hit me.”
  • PARENT: “Aren’t you in karate? Next time he does that, you should karate chop him.”
  • 6-YEAR OLD GIRL: “That wouldn’t be appropriate.”

One comment on “And Now, For Something Completely Different

  1. Very interesting post. when i had just gotten into screenwriting, and had had a few scripts either written, commissioned, optioned or made, I was hit with a similar epiphany. I had spent so much time watching and admiring other films and their writing that I lost my grip on the notion of a real human being. I had started to write movie people, not real people. At that point, whenever I was tempted to watch a movie, I was turn the other way, and visit somewhere, something to interact with real people all with glorious, complex and individual life experiences. I haunted bars, thrift stores, malls, churches and strip clubs. The result, i began to write REAL people, not REEL people.

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