Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Writing Puzzle

For me, writing a novel is like putting together a puzzle. I've written about this before in my post The Puzzle of Writing, but it was especially true for me yesterday. I'm now working on my third novel, and it's been the hardest one to figure out so far. It's been ages since I first started thinking about the topics, characters and plots I wanted to cover. Now I have a huge pile of puzzle pieces staring at me waiting for me to begin putting them together. I keep waiting for an aha! moment to slap me upside the head letting me know it's time to put the pedal to the metal and get this show on the road (how's that for some cliches!). But I don't think that's going to happen. Here's why---I think I have all I need right now. But it looks a like a jumbled heap of pieces.

I'm trying to tell myself that's okay. It's normal. But how do you go from a jumble to a cohesive whole? Um ... one piece at a time? Yeah, that's exactly it. If I start looking at the whole picture it overwhelms me. How am I going to write another 80,000 word novel? What if it's not as good as the last one? What if I hate it? When I start thinking like that, I know I'm thinking too "big picture". I need to scale back and pick up one piece, examine it, and guess where it fits into the puzzle.

See, I've started this novel at least five times and written new material in each version. I thought I was wasting my time. But yesterday things started coming together as I took pieces of each version and put them into this next rendition.

So are you feeling overwhelmed by the big picture in your life? Why not try taking it a day at a time? Maybe that's why the Lord told us to pray for our daily bread. Not our yearly bread. :)


Gayle Gresham said...

Thanks, C.J. Just what I needed today!

momishome2 said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I needed to hear the one day at a time lesson again, that's for sure - especially today. NOTHING I've planned has happened and I've spent my day doing necessary, but unplanned stuff. I am, of course, one of those plan ahead people & stuff like today drives me crazy. You've put it back in perspective for me.

Koala Bear Writer said...

Hmmm, good points. Right now, writing a novel is feeling daunting because I only have snippets of writing time. Hardly enough to get immersed into a novel and write very much. But if, as you say, I take it a day or a puzzle piece at a time... it'll come! :)

Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

Manna. Write like you're wandering in the wilderness relying on the daily appearance of manna. Reread Numbers while you're writing and think "Manna for the day."