All this talk of stories and wishing on workshops (perhaps it’s just chatter in my head?) has got me lamenting the cold shoulder I’ve given one of my stories-in-progress. It really wants to be finished, and yet I had to put it aside for these recent deadlines.
I spent all weekend on a freelance copyediting project—I clocked in over 20 hours and now my neck burns. So the story didn’t get touched. Tomorrow is Monday and back to my day job—so the story won’t get touched. I have to write that spec chapter—and the little story, knowing no one, of such small significance I am writing this post instead of it . . . well, it won’t get touched.
I feel bad. I don’t want it to die on me while I’m out gallivanting around trying to pay the bills. So, until I can do something else, I am trying to find a way to keep the story alive and kicking. Maybe I could:
1. Print out what I have of the story so far and carry it around with me everywhere I go, even to (especially to) staff meetings.
2. Rest my head on it while I watch TV*.
3. Talk out loud to it when I’m on the elevator, or walking down stairs, or through the streets. If I’m lucky, it might answer.
4. Write the name of the story in my notebook like in junior high: Nova + Story Forever. Nova & Story. Story & Nova. Story Story Story Story Story Story all small and decorated with little stars and kissy lips and mascaraed eyeballs deep and twisting into the margin.
5. Repeat a line from the story in my mind until it becomes like an iconic song lyric that keeps replaying until I just can’t forget it and so MUST write it down in order to move ahead with my life.
6. Picture the main character sitting next to me, just hanging out until I have time for her, like a very persistent imaginary friend.
7. Keep the sentence where I left off on a sticky note and post it wherever I may be—like on my computer monitor or keyboard at work—or even in my pocket, against my hip, so I carry it everywhere, and rub it raw, and I forget I even have it… which might not help too much at all.
So, other busy-busy people, how do you do it? There must be some other more practical ways to keep an idea alive.
*Yes, I am busy, but I am very tired and sometimes I just want to watch TV.
Are you going to say that’s another reason I’m not writing the story?
Fine. How about…
8. Tomorrow, when I get home from work, maybe try not to turn on the TV.