Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Quit while you're ahead?...

I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.-Ernest Hemingway

I have to admit, I too love the feeling of leaving my writing day when the words are flowing nicely and I know I have a starting point for the next day, but sometimes it's tempting to keep writing. I often fear that if I stop while the creative juices are flowing, they may not return the next day. I fret over the possible lost prose that could result, therefore more often than not, I continue writing until I run out of fuel...or life calls.

When I do stop midway through a scene, I usually scribble several notes to myself-a line of dialogue or something to remind myself where I was heading with the scene before I put it away. I'm going to keep today's post short and open it up to you lovely ladies. I'd love to know-do you quit while you're ahead or keep writing till there are no words left? And what methods do you use to prompt yourself the next day?

xo
Jen

9 comments:

  1. Jen,
    Interesting quote by Hemingway. I figured he would write until the booze addled his brain. LOL When I worked full time and wrote, I used music to get me back into the story. I would end my writing and the music at the same time---come back the next night and pick both up where I'd left off. The music seemed to bring the words back. Now I have a certain number of words I plan to write and keep at it until I hit the magic number. Now, reading what you've written I wonder if pushes me past the "good" writing. You know, the writing that flows from the brain to your fingers. Hm. Can't wait to see what everyone else says.

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  2. Hi Roz!

    The music idea is great! I find my best ideas come to me while I'm driving because of the music I listen to-it will trigger an emotion or idea for a scene, etc...Love it!

    xo
    Jen

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  3. Good morning, Jen. Sounds as though we work much the same way - except that I can't listen to music. It muffles the voices. But I hate to stop when I still know what's coming next. If I have to, I make notes to remind myself what I was thinking. And while I'm doing other things - cooking, walking, whatever, I run it over in my mind. I always feel as though someone has popped a DVD into my forehead when I'm working. I watch the action and take it down.

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    1. Hi Muriel,

      Yes, that describes it perfectly for me too. Sometimes I'm so engrossed in watching a scene play out, I forget for a minute that I have to record what's happening lol:)

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  4. I always finish a scene if I have it clearly mapped out in my mind. Like you, I'm afraid I'll lose the roll I'm on if I stop mid-scene. Having said that, if I'm having a hard time with a scene, I leave the file on the computer open while I do busy things around the house. Then, when an idea about the scene pops into my head, I can can easily add it to the WIP. Writing certainly is not a do-it-this-way-or-else kind of deal. I've learned to adapt over the years.

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  5. Hi Tara,

    No kidding-adaptation is definitely a big part of writing. Honestly, some days I feel that if I had time, I could write non-stop and finish this series in one sitting (these times are rare lol), and other times I've got nothing...

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  6. Jen- I know this sounds really lame- but I exercise (of course I'm watching my TiVo taped episode of Dancing with the Stars while doing it :) but it actually gives more energy than it takes away and sometimes I come up with some really great ideas... like how much I'd rather be back at writing then sweating on my elliptical! lol. Thanks for the post! It's great to know other writers face the same moments I do when I need to step away from the keyboard.

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  7. Thanks Karen! I always marvel over the similarities in writers lol:) We all seem to have the same challenges, and yet we all tackle them differently. I love discussing the various methods that work:)

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  8. Sometimes I leave a scene halfway through so I can return to it with fresh ideas. Sometimes I finish one scene then press save for the day. It depends on my mood, my energy, my schedule... Both techniques work, so I guess that's the important part LOL

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