Holes in the Day


I’ve been taking y’all with me through the early creative process of writing a book. I’m not saying that anyone else will pass through these same steps or in this same order, but that some of the steps of creativity may resonate with you. And I’m late posting today because I’ve been rewriting and have also been distracted.

First the distraction part. Distraction is a part of a writer’s life because we have to have a life. We have to have something going on outside of the writing or we go seriously wonky. Some writers turn to drink or drugs or other vices. Some get caught up in a writers block that feels like the Hoover dam. Some get physically sick. (I chose the physically sick route when I closed out the world and am still paying the price.) So we have to have distractions, i.e.: a life.

I love my family and don’t mind stopping my writing to be a help to them. Not at all. But it *is* a distraction and at some points in a manuscript, in the creative process, it is difficult to deal with.

Today, mom needed computer help. She had lost a file she had worked on for two days, and I volunteered to help her find it, and to set up her work in a better filing system on her PC tree. Before I even got started on my own writing, I was at mom’s house trying to find anything that might be the file she had lost. No such luck. And organizing her filing system in her PC will take me most of one day. Mom is a packrat, and even her PC shows it. OMG. So, after more than an hour, I had to back off and go home.

To the day’s email. Another distraction. And then lunch. Another distraction. And clothes in the washer. Distraction. You get the idea.

About 1:30 p.m. I started the day’s writing with a rewrite of the work from the day before. This is the way I usually work, starting with the previous stuff to get me in the mood, remind me where I am in the plotline, get me going. And I had screwed up. (big sigh…)

A writer wants to take a scene from point A to point B to point C and so on, like a river flows, always forward. But I had gotten stuck in a… well, a hole. In paddling parlance a *hole* is a recirculating hole, a place just downstream of a drop where an obstruction at the bottom of the drop ( a big rock, maybe) makes the water roll back over itself over and over again, recirculating and not moving on, except out the bottom, after what—or who—ever is stuck in it gets really well worked. Some holes are called keepers. Meaning that once in, you don’t get out very well. Paddlers die in keepers. It’s scary and so I avoid holes. I paddle away from them, around them, anywhere but through them.

But in my writing yesterday, I got caught in a recirculating hole. And I didn’t notice. My scene started, paused, started again, paused went sideways, and started again. There was a beginning or three or four and an ending, but no continuity. It was an amateur mistake. (another big sigh…)

Today, so far, I have spent hours rewriting the scene from yesterday. Best bet is that I’ll have to go over it again this week, but I’m not looking at that possibility right now. I made a mistake yesterday. I’ve fixed it. Now I have to get today’s page count done. Somehow the rewrite gave me a page, leaving only 6 to write today. It will be a long day. But I *will* get it done. I freaking hate holes….



5 comments to Holes in the Day

  • Holes. I like the image. I use a maze image to describe the same thing — take a wrong turn and eventually you meet a dead end. Sometimes you meet it quickly and retracing steps takes just a few minutes. Sometimes you follow lots of twists and turns before you realize that they’re leading you nowhere. That sucks. But the point is the same: we all follow the wrong path now and then, professionals and beginners alike. We all face distractions and time-sinks. Sorry you’ve been dealing with yours today. Remember that the end result will be worth the struggle. And here’s a virtual hug for your trouble….

  • Hugs back at you! And my thanks.

    I like the maze image too, and the frankly, the maze image sounds more frustrating, simply because a writer could go on forever, lost in the words. Which I would totally hate.

    In a hole, drowning starts in about 30 seconds and death is quick if you don’t get out. No time for prolonged frustration, as in a maze. (laughing) Leave it to me to pick a deadly image.

    I am already moving ahead and have four pages written. So, in my (deadly) image, I have been kicked out of the hole downstream, found the surface, heaved a breath of air, said my thanks to the water sprites who were feeling playful and not murderous, and gathered up my gear for the next rapid. Paddlers are crazy. So are writers.

  • Gwen,
    Glad you got out of that hole. 😀 I need to get back to my keyboard. BIC. 😉

  • Sarah

    Mmm. Holes. Now I miss kayaking. But I hear you about distractions and, as you said earlier, triaging your life. My brother’s girlfirend said something very wise on the same subject yesterday, “The great thing about dirty dishes is that they are very patient. They will wait as long as you need them to.” So that’s one excuse for not writing down the drain. 🙂

  • Tyhitia, Yep — BIC. Nothing better.

    Sarah, High five! (For paddlers, that means tapping paddle blades overhead.) I love the dishes thing. Your brother’s girlfriend seems very wise. But I have to admit that dirty dishes prey on my mind … until I have them in the dishwasher. Then it’s out of sight, out of mind.
    Hugs, Y’all.