I'm never really sure why I get inspired or where inspiration comes from, but today I feel strongly that I need to write a post called Don't Panic.
It might be from my own experience. A few days ago, I stopped cold on the project I was working on. Something was "off" but I couldn't figure out what it was. Oh, and did I mention the book was due on Sunday...it was Wednesday when I stalled.
So, as I sat there without a thought in my brain, my husband came into my office with a slice of pizza. "Sarah needs help moving this afternoon. Wanna come?" (Sarah is our daughter.) The translation for that question was: It's a long, boring drive. I could use company.
I looked at the bad, bad, uncooperative book, looked at him. Technically, I should have stayed behind and fixed that bugger...but, you know what? I didn't know how. And Sarah needed help. What mother could refuse that?
We piled in my husband's truck, drove the hour and a half to her new house, unloaded funiture in boxes that she'd bought from Walmart...and got out a tool box to put it together. As my husband read directions and tried to match parts, I handed nuts and bolts, reread the directions and helped him try to match parts.
But about half way through with the sofa, I had a germ of an idea to fix my wayward story. I handed the nuts and bolts to Sarah, got the tablet from my purse and scribbled some stuff down. Convinced I now had my fix for the book, I went back to the nuts and bolts.
But fifteen minutes later, I thought of something else...handed the nuts to Sarah...and scribbled again.
About fifteen minutes after that, same deal. Nuts to Sarah. Scribble on tablet...Back to nuts.
We finished the futuriture and piled into the truck again and on the way home I felt really great. I had my idea. I could now fix my book. I ALMOST went back to work (we got home around 9:00) but my eyes were tired so I decided to wait until morning...and guess what? When I woke up I realized everything I'd thought of the day before wasn't quite right either...but I had a new idea. After sleeping on everything, my brain had come up with a scene that might be the best in the book.
Why am I telling you this? Because, first, I want you to note that even though I was in trouble with my book I didn't panic. I let my brain have some time to puzzle out what was wrong. Second, I didn't write prematurely. (I almost did...but luckily my eyes hurt.)
With five days until this book needed to go in, I could have panicked. I could have jumped the gun and taken that book in three wrong directions! All of which I eliminated just by taking some time off, writing notes on the ideas but not really writing until the best idea came to me the next morning.
We don't always have time to stop. And sometimes stopping feels so, so wrong. But every once in a while you have to give yourself some thinking space!
So don't panic when things aren't working out. Go do something else. Sure, take a notebook and jot down your ideas, but don't really write until you've given yourself some REAL time away!