Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jigsaw Puzzle Writing With Sprinkles of Contemplation

Many years ago when I was a young mother, I read a story about a woman who wrote a book about mothering while she was raising a large family.

When others expressed amazement at her accomplishment and asked how she managed it, this woman said she had learned to "use small modules of time." It's a phrase that has stuck with me and one I've implemented through my adventures in not only writing, but parenting and homeschooling.

And, for now at least, it's become my new normal, for two reasons.

One, I often don't have the luxury of large unscheduled bits of time, except (maybe) one day a week when I'm able to plan for it.

Two, I'm finding the final novel in my Before the Blood prequel challenging to write. Since it's the culmination of the trilogy as well as the prequel, it's not just another novel. The story arc, characters, plot, pace: all of these most have a more compelling tone and "feel." 

And it just ain't happening yet.

So here's what's emerging from the confusion. I focus on bits of the story and write that well and allow the rest to simmer in the back of my mind until it becomes clear and crisp, sort of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle while cooking soup.

They're two separate activities that somehow will fit together in the end. Each has its own time, rushing the process spoils both.

Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

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