Lessons Learned

This last week, going out to coffee shops every morning, has been really educational. I figured I’d post about some of the lessons I’ve learned this week.

Job-ness. Going out every morning to write at a coffee shop made the writing feel more like a job. This is NOT a good thing. I had to have some time processing that, to change my language around to keep the writing fun.

But that led to more thinking about the other part of my life, the publishing. While that’s kind of more like a job, I still must have fun with it. It can’t feel as though I’m going to work everyday when I switch over to the publishing. And I realized that I’d kind of fallen into that trap as well. Which was in part why I had a “no business Friday” yesterday – and didn’t go back into town to do more work. Instead, I stayed out at the farm and worked there. (^_^)

Home. Leaving every morning made leaving every afternoon a lot more of a challenge. I’ve been indulging myself in iced decaf coffees as part of my treat to get me to go into town. But I also find that I only have so much focus during a day, and that by late afternoon, I’m just DONE.

Mushy Middle. One of the many, many ways my sweetie improves my life is that he approaches writing differently than I do. He’s a bit less organic of a writer, has more learned structure. One of the things that he’s taught me is the three act structure, which can be abbreviated to: Hero – Villain – Victory. I’ve seriously embraced that structure when it’s appropriate for a book.

I can now use the three act structure as a diagnostic tool. I was having a lot of problems writing the novel yesterday. Didn’t want to go into town. But I knew that if I stayed at home, I wouldn’t write. What was going on?

Besides the job-ness, I had hit what I sometimes refer to as the mushy middle.

But that term, as soon as I used it, told me what was wrong with the novel. By referring to where I’m at as the mushy middle, I knew that I had to focus on the villain.

The problem is that I’ve been writing this novel completely into the dark. I have a problem. I had no idea what was causing it. While on the one hand, I want the villain to be pretty amorphous, more of a societal thing. On the other hand, I need someone to be the representation of this issue.

So once I sorta kinda figured out who the villain was, that told me where this section of the novel needed to go. It’s kind of awesome and cool.

However, I have to be honest here. If I hadn’t gone to a coffee shop, hadn’t forced myself to sit and focus, it would have taken me much longer to figure out the issue. I probably wouldn’t have written yesterday at all.

Focus. I’ve lost focus when it comes to the writing. And I’m still not sure why that happened. I’m retraining my focus, but it’s slow coming. Was it just all the illness I’ve been fighting the last few months? The hormones? 2019 has been kind of crappy all year long. I’ve had some better months, but the majority of the year hasn’t been good.

It occurs to me that the last time I regularly focused was May, for the writing marathon. That was also book four of a series that I was writing. I haven’t focused on a regular basis for my regular writing, at least long term, since January. And even then, I was just sick and letting the words flow.

So yeah. It’s been a long time since I’ve regularly written. I’m having to build those muscles back up. But luckily, I can do that, before they’ve completely atrophied.

What are YOU doing to level up in your art? Doesn’t have to be just writing…

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