Monday, February 07, 2011


Last night's Super Bowl was fantastic - even though we don't get the ads up here in Canada (except for the Eminem one, which only fed my love for the man) I couldn't have enjoyed that game more. Even though I'm a Pittsburgh fan by birth I have to admit the Steelers simply didn't deserve to win. All those interceptions? Green Bay dropped the ball a few times, but Rodgers never threw an interception. And he's squeaky clean. No rape charges, no pictures of his ding dong on the internet, no dog fighting. Just work. If games were decided on that sort of thing - it all worked out just fine.

But I've been thinking a lot about momentum. I feel stalled out in my book right now because I can't put together three working days in a row. Remember some of the first advice you heard about writing - write every day even if it's for twenty minutes. I'm not arguing with that advice, it's still good. But those twenty minute days screw me up more than help me. I feel lost in my story, spinning my wheels.

Last nights game was about momentum. About getting it, but not being able to capitalize on it. Favor would swing one way and that time would spin thier wheels trying to make something miraculous happen. Sometimes it did, but most of the time things would fall apart.

My foot ball analogy falls apart there because I can't squash the forces working against me (children - unsquashable) but I have decided that it's time to get my head out of my own behind and sacrifice some stuff to get this book done. No more afternoon naps. Yes, I admit it, I nap. Goodbye bad television tht I watch for no good reason. Hello Crock Pot. Hello babysitter and Goodbye Saturday Spinning class. For the first time this weekend I woke up early to do some work (5:30!) and I can safely say that's not a habit I'm ready to commit to.

What sorts of things do you do to create your own momentum? Any advice would help at this point


Karen W said...

Molly, I have this problem too. Right now I'm blaming my lack of momentum on the Senior editor not yet having approved my synopsis after over 2 months (it's already contracted, so I have a due date!) But I've been "working" on this books (supposedly) since January and I only have 5000 words.

So yeah, I'd be interested in hearing about momentum aids as well.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Awesome post and very timely... because I just experienced the same thing.

I started this new book on Saturday - I'm all ready to go, excited, yada yada.

The first 5 pages felt like pulling teeth. I realized how out of practice I am. Basically 2 months off and I am RUSTY! So yeah - you got to keep writing because man can you get out of writing shape quick.

I say don't give up naps -(I'm also a napper) because rest really is key to creativity. And excersise too is good for you.

And face it... don't you use both those times to plot? I know I do. I can lie there with my eyes closed and just think... and as crazy as it sounds... that's still working.

As writers we only ever give ourselves credit for what we put on the page. But sometimes the work in our head can be just as important. And it helps make that 20 minutes worthwile if you know before you sit down exactly what you are going to write.

And getting up early on a Saturday... yeah - you get extra points for that!

Maureen McGowan said...

Momentum is such a tricky thing. I'm motivated by tracking and reporting my word count. (To the point where I refuse to delete even a word because it will make the number go down.) But, like the 20 minutes a day rule, it can be counterproductive. I can end up writing words that have no business being in my book.

But I have more squash-able external forces than you... My push-through-and-just-get-something-down-on-paper technique, is typically hours a day, not minutes, so usually (usually) I can break through and even if a lot of what I did while regaining the momentum was crap... I find the groove again. And usually it's after some epiphany, and I wish I knew where those came from!

I'm remembering what a basket case I was this time last year. Sleeping Beauty due in 3 weeks and not going well. (I think I virtually started over about this time last year...) Not paying as much attention to my line edits on Cinderella as I should have been, blindly accepting some of my editor's changes, even though I really disagreed with some of them. Desperately trying to keep moving when my brain felt so broken.

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, and Karen... Uncertainty about a project or another project is a definite momentum killer for me.

Eileen said...

It's so hard to get! I'm not sure giving up naps and spin class is good, though. Rest and exercise keep your mind clear. Maybe if you just gave them up for a week, got the momentum up and then could charge ahead?

And, yes, GO PACK!!!! What a great game! So exciting! So satisfying!

Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh my Lord Karen - half my problem is being stalled out waiting to hear about what I felt were MASSIVE revisions. The editor loved the revisions (Thank you Steph) but when I mentioned how big they were she wrote back... "Hmmm....they didn't seem that big..."

Which made me realize how I had been building that whole thing up in my head and letting it hold me back.

Waiting to hear something is a killer. Total killer.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I try to never sit down without knowing what I need to do - but this book was killing me so I'd open the computer and fall asleep.

Another thing that was killing my momentum because I was feeling lost, I was constantly re reading what I had written. And there was a huge problem, I wasn't wrong, a big change needed to be made, but I was never in the right headspace to see it. During that early morning session - I finally figured it out. Probably because I was so tired.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I agree with waiting being the killer. I've felt like I've been in waiting mode for months - and now I'm pushing myself out of it (even though I'm still in it.)

And any time Molly! Can't wait for finished product. I just downloaded your latest Super. Two more Rita books to go then I'm back to my regularly scheduled reading...

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