Here you see the tools I use to keep moving on my writing. The binder packet is kept in my mobile book bag – it has stickies, hilighters, pens, markers, binder clips, earbuds, reading glasses, and a digital audio recorder. You should build one of these for yourself if you’re a writier.
The book shown here (The Art Of War For Writers) is one of several that I keep around me. I can highly recommend this particular book as a self-check, self-help, motivational coach to keep you from getting buried in the mud mentally. When I’m feeling sluggish about my work, or when I’m having trouble developing a character, setting or dialogue, I will often reach for a book on writing and just flip it open. Kismet can be a marvelous thing and if you’re like me, you’ll often find the answer to a conundrum hidden within the subtext of a head-clearing bike ride, the random flip of a book page or several moments strung together with your eyes closed, sprawled out on the floor.
This business of writing is not for sissies. If I were flying commercial airplanes for a living I would be well acquainted with mechanical maintenance, preflight checklists and takeoff procedures. Once I put my plane in the air I have no choice but to land it somehow. My passengers are depending on me, so they are certainly on my mind – I am aware of them. At the same time though, the passengers are a secondary concern most of the time because my safety is on the line as well; I’m equally interested in a successful, event-free landing.
When writing, your readers are your passengers. When you get that storyline going it is imperative that you check to make sure the story is sound, that it will hold up under scrutiny. Then you need to go through your checklists to be sure the sub-plots and characters within the story are plausible, relatable, and that everything will work together seamlessly before heading down the runway. Once you’re “in the air”, you’re committed. This is not the time you want to lose your head, give up and release the yoke. Before takeoff make sure you have the strategies in place to help you over those rough spots. You know they’re going to happen, right? Anticipate the problems and know where to go so you can quickly resume your momentum. Keep working at it, and bring that big bird in safely!
Wait, what…? Are those cheers I’m hearing from the cabin?