Here’s a quick one… I’m finally sitting down with the book after a month or more away. I’m done with chapter 9 apparently. I had forgotten that! Sad, right? Now I need to move forward and crank out the final eight chapters or so. I’m right at the unofficial half-way point so it was a good place to stop, but now as I sit here, I feel like I’m starting from scratch. It’s like I’m in the midst of a long-distance relationship and my partner is back in town for a weekend visit. We have to get to know each other again. The question is, how do you have small talk with a book?
A friend of mine – writer, animator, artist, director, renaissance man Mike Wellins – once told me the best thing to do when getting back to an idea is read through everything you have and change one thing. Force yourself to change something. Anything! Guess what? It works. I’ve used this tactic before on screenplays and even altering a line of dialog that I previously loved really helps re-connect me to the material. When I come back to a writing or editing project after a few weeks away, it’s like somebody else’s project. And that’s true… the person who last worked on this was the me from a month ago. Sometimes I think, “That guy from five weeks ago was a genius!” And other times it’s like, “What the hell was he thinking?!” Either way, making changes here and there reestablishes the immersion into the material that I really need to start thinking in the world of that story. The present-day me owns it now.
So here I am, past the 20,000 word mark and moving forward. Cheers to the me from a couple months back who did all this work. But he’s gone now. I’ll take it from here.