I recently finished the first manuscript. With over 100,000 words, and I would swear as many pages, I started the process of editing and revising. At least, that was the plan. Instead, I’ve been rewriting and rewriting.
Somewhere around the midpoint of my writing journey, I realized I didn’t have a clue. No one in my immediate circle of friends had ever referred to writing as a craft. I assumed, therefore, I wasn’t craftsy. That’s a character trait among these friends, and I’d fallen short.
In the last ten years, writing has become the craft I chase. I read and re-read the books. I joined the educational groups and watch the videos. I went to the conference and hope to go again. Still, at night, I struggle to sleep thinking of ways to make fictional people come to life. Plots twist my rest into something more like numbness, and I wake early to try and untangle the mess that, just yesterday, was almost a story.
Recently, I read a blog by a writer acquaintance who said she divides her writing time between several books at once. To keep her mind in the current story, she listens to a particular set of songs. I’ve tried listening to music while I write, but I must lack the mental dexterity, because the lyrics, or even a catchy tune, mingle with the words on the page, and I lose track.
Still, I like the idea, so I decided to try an alternative version. I started by adding a story inspiring song to a playlist, and immediately thought of another, and then another, and so on. I listen in the off hours, time not spent writing, and the results have been surprising. With each song, I think about the characters I want to write about in a future story. My mind rolls over the possibilities of trials and heartbreak they may find themselves facing. Then, I switch to a second playlist created for the work currently in edit mode, and the characters take on a depth I missed in them before.
It’s strange how something small can open the imagination.
Be inspired. Go make the playlist.