Monday, January 9, 2012

Waiting for the Lightning to Strike!

Ever feel like Marty McFly waiting out in Hill Valley til historic lightning hits the clock tower and you're home free?  I know I do.  I have the brilliant idea, the excitement for the project, the laptop to write it on, various notebooks in my book bag, purse, by the bed and on my desk...the only thing I need is the "lightning" needed to actually write the manuscript!  I know it will come and when it does I will be shaking with adrenaline and creative energy.  I've been here many times before.  But the waiting is tough.

So what do I do when I am waiting for the lightning? 

1)  Stay calm and relaxed about it.  Chances are there are no family pictures with fading relatives that will eventually be erased from existence if I do not complete the manuscript urgently.  Therefore, it is best to breathe deeply and tell myself that it will come...just not right now.  I try not to fixate.  Just go about daily life.

2)  Keep that pan on the back burner simmering and sauteeing.  The key is to not forget about the brilliant idea but to keep checking on it and perhaps even getting my spatula in there and move things around a bit.  Maybe at this point I will realize it needs more salt or oil.  I just keep an eye on it, checking in on the idea daily (or more often). 

3)  Build craft and gather more inspiration.  I know when I am waiting for the lightning I sometimes start to freak thinking, "what if I don't have anymore good ideas?  what if the manuscripts I have already written are the only ones I will ever have?"  Its best to kill these thoughts.  One way is to continue to treat myself as a writer.  Hang with other writers or a Critique Group.  Read online blogs.  Enroll in a webinar or class or workshop.  The key is to continue to build craft in the waiting....afterall, who knows what will spark that lightning.  Its best to keep creating the atmospheric conditions.

4)  Read past work.  At these times I like to read past work for mine.  Isn't wonderful when you become your own inspiration?  Continue to foster belief in yourself.

5)  Research.  Ok.  So this seems more relevant for certain manuscripts over others.  I mean, my current manuscripts is about monsters in the closet.  I could embark on a journey through closets and interview the monsters living there....OR I could just hang with kids and possibly ask them about monsters living in their closets and how they would deal with it.  Or post a poll on some social networking.  Keep those ideas coming.

6)  Chill the champagne and buy the chocolate.  Bottomline is to believe that it will come.  It has come before.  It will come again...and the exuberance will be overwhelming!  And when it does come...don't forget to celebrate! That is important. the meantime, get that post-manuscript reward ready!

So here I am with my lightning rod up high, drinking coffee, heading to the playground, getting ready for a workshop and webinar this week, reading various blogs...Happy Monday, Happy Writing everyone!  Breathe...and triumph will come!


  1. I have a particularly difficult time with #3! - what if I never have another good idea etc? :) Great post, all so true. Keep that lightning rod up there :)

  2. Great post. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a "brilliant idea" and I have to write it down because I'm afraid I'll forget by morning.

    Inevitable I read the idea in the morning and decide it's not so brilliant after all. Apparently I need #6 in my life. I definitely need to "chill" and not just the champagne.

  3. I like #6 the best. ;-)

    I too find it intimidating to just start sometimes. Now I'll know to be expecting that lightning.

  4. Thank you for the motivating post, Marcie! I especially loved #2--the idea of keeping something on the back burner and checking and stirring it from time to time--what a great visual reminder.

  5. Thanks for the great post. I think number 1 is the hardest for me, to just relax and be patient and remember that Rome wasn't built in a day!

  6. Great post. The ideas aren't my problem. It's having the focus to finish a lightning strike when it comes. @Hannah I'm always getting out of bed to write something down that seems like a good idea, but I tell you anything seems like a good idea when you're sleep deprived!

  7. I appreciate this post! I'm more of a reader than a writer, but even as a blogger, these suggestions are helpful. Thanks! :)

  8. Great list of things to do while waiting for lightening to strike.