Writing Song of the Day: “Did It On ‘Em” by Nicki Minaj
Last week, something miraculous happened. Something so awe-inducing, that years from now, townspeople will be celebrating a day in my honor. Yes, ladies and gentlemen–I, Pamela N. Harris, have completed another 1st draft.
Okay, I get it. Some of you may be thinking: “But you write. Aren’t you supposed to complete 1st drafts?”
Why yes, lovely followers, this is true. But as I mentioned here, I’m not a big fan of the 1st draft. And this one–well, this one was a doozy.
I started Project J (no, I don’t have a title yet) in the summer of 2010. I outlined the first 13 chapters, wrote the 1st 13 chapters, and then…
That’s right, I hit a wall. I did have Wants to fall back on since I had to complete some agent-requested revisions. And then in November, I wrote another 1st draft for NaNoWriMo. And then more Wants revisions. And then there’s work and school.
And Project J. Well, Project J started to collect cobwebs. It’s not that I hated it–it’s just that I didn’t know what the heck to do with it anymore. When my lovely agent said that she’d like the idea, I knew I had to get to work. But how do you work on a project when your mind is filled with this: ??????????????????????????????
Here’s my cure to chipping away at this bout of writer’s block:
1. I printed out what I had so far and read through it. Made notes on what worked, what didn’t work.
2. Made (I mean, asked) Quita to read what I had so far, too. Asked her to take notes on what worked, what didn’t work.
3. Listened to music that fit my manuscript. Project J is one of my lighter manuscripts, so I played lots of pop-friendly songs (thanks, Quita–for blasting so many Britney Spears in the office).
4. Watched teen comedies and paid attention to what worked, what didn’t work. Project J is inspired by an 80s teen comedy, so I really wanted to get back to that place of how fun being a teen can be sometimes. Of course, I touch on some “heavy” topics, but I wanted to have a good time while doing so.
5. With all that said and done, I finally was able to have a bare outline of what should happen next. After that, I set myself goals on actually writing it. Some days it was 1 chapter, some days it was 2–it all depended on how much work I needed to do for my two jobs and school.
6. Gave myself an incentive for when I was actually done. And me being me, my incentive was food. Even though I whined when I was too tired to work, I always reminded myself how much I wanted those Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster. Yum!!
And now–1ST DRAFT IS DONE! Of course, the hard work is next: revision. Call me weird, but I love me some revising, so I’m actually looking forward to the next step.
What about you all? How do you all overcome writer’s block? I’m always looking for new tips!