How Do You Catch a Unique Rabbit?

First things first, me hearties:

Q. The one truth hiding amongst the six lies of my "Creative Writer" award entry?
A. I went bowling with Colin Powell.

This was when I worked for him at America's Promise. WAYYYYYYY back in the day (what, '98, '99?). So one day he shows up in jeans and a chambray shirt, driving that shiny blue PT Cruiser of his, and we all go bowling, and I shared a lane with him. Also got to go to his house one year for his Christmas party, and THAT was inneresting. Downstairs? He has this really shiny, nifty study, and in it are some great framed pictures, like the one of him on the phone in the Oval Office, like, ending the Gulf War.

EN. EE. WAY. So how do you catch a unique rabbit? Why, unique up on it, of course. *audience groans* But what if it's a unique manuscript? There's no sneaking up on that - because if it's anything like my current MS, it's too busy stalking you everywhere you go. And, sometimes, fo realz, y'all? I wish it weren't hunting season. Then I could lounge, eat a bunch of Swedish Fish, and watch the WHOLE DAY go by.

So how do you escape that ever-present WIP? I know we should take breaks, a night off, etc. But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about what do you do AFTER you take that night off, but the plot of your MS, the stress of it, the pressure to finish it--it all still won't go away. Take yesterday. Yesterday, I literally ran away: I went jogging cuz my head was about to explode from all the MS ideas in there. And while I felt better like I always do after a run, I came panting back into my driveway with my head full of NEW ideas for the MS. So I can't escape. Even when I'm escaping. *goes barking mad*

So what do you do when this happens? How do you unplug your BRAIN from the MS when it's always there, looming, gibbering--stealing all your Swedish Fish?


Anonymous | April 3, 2010 at 10:56 AM

I so feel you! When the MS becomes an overwhelming conglomeration of thoughts, ideas, cognitions, things can go one of two ways. Either accept the thoughts and try not to fight them, cuz they're gonna come anyway, or channel the energy to another project. A short story, a blog post, a query letter (gasp!), or read a novel in the genre you're writing in for inspiration.

Deep breaths, Zoe! ;)

Anonymous | April 3, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I need to get back into mine rather than escape it. Freelancing and querying and being sick have led to too much "escaping" my working on something new lately!

But, advice? Bud Light Lime is an always-welcome diversion. ;)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) | April 4, 2010 at 6:58 PM

Great post. How do I escape my MS? I don't think I ever really do. I've found the only thing that takes me out of it is time with my goddaughter. It's hard to think about plot twists, revisions or querying when a 15 month old is saying "Get auntie get" or wanting a cuddle, lol.
Keep going Zoe :)

Lydia Kang | April 5, 2010 at 11:12 AM

The business of life and going to my day job works. I MUST think in a different mind-set, and it's refreshing. Otherwise my brain gets so pruny from stewing in my WIP I don't function as well.

callieforester | April 5, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Hi Zoe,
I couldn't find an email or anything for you, so I decided to just leave this in your comment section. :) This is Callie Forester, from Chimera Critiques. Our site went down for about a week and a half, so I'm just writing everyone that entered the contest to let them know the site is up and running again, just in case they stopped by and saw it down. Thanks for entering!! Callie

Zoe C. Courtman | April 5, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Thanks for popping in, Laura! I've been MIA thanks to Spring Break :) That's actually been helping a little; but the thoughts of the MS still come, so I'll do just what you said - and accept them!!

Ricki - LOL! Beer is indeed my friend at the moment, and it does help just to relax and let the MS pop into my mind, but tell myself I don't have to act on it, or go write (unless the idea's just too scrumptious.) Thanks!

Lindsay - You're right on the money about kids forcing you to focus on them. With a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old, sometimes I can't do anything BUT focus on them, so it helps!

Lydia - GREAT way to describe it -- "pruny" is exactly what my brain feels like when it's been stewing in the MS for too long!!

Callie - thanks for letting me know. I did pop over there and saw it was down, so I appreciate the heads up!! Thanks for dropping by!

Voidwalker | April 5, 2010 at 7:02 PM

I've found that we can't run away from an active mind, but sometimes it can be distracted.

Jen | April 5, 2010 at 7:32 PM

I don't think you can ever really runaway...the mind is already active but when writing is involved it never stops!

Alleged Author | April 5, 2010 at 11:18 PM

I have been running away from my current wip. Though I always worry if I get away from it too long that I will become disconnected from it.

Zoe C. Courtman | April 6, 2010 at 9:57 AM

I totally agree, Voidwalker. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Daytona & spring break with my teens, cuz I've been distracted as hell! And it feels GREAT.

Jen - DEFinitely true. There's just no escaping, because, yanno, you haul your brain with you. And writing just makes it worse!!

Alleged - GAH, I hate when I feel like I have to run away. But I TOTALLY feel that way so often lately, especially when I'm staring down an emotionally exhausting scene (and this one has SO many of them!)

Bethany Wiggins | April 6, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Bowling with Colin? How awesome... sounds too bizarre to be true. As for me with that ever-stalking MS, I only work on it at night because I have too many obligations in the day. And it is present all day in my thoughts. ALL DAY. But that is when I get some of my best insight, like leaving a pot of spaghetti sauce on simmer all day and at dinner, it tastes better than ever.

Zoe C. Courtman | April 7, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Hey, Bethany! I know, right? And it's always those "stranger than fiction" things that end up being true. LOVE the simmering stage! I totally agree :)

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