Friday, October 29, 2010

Drawing from My Reserve

By Keith N Fisher

I used to drive a pickup with two gas tanks. Rather than fill both tanks (too expensive), I kept five dollars worth in the back tank. That way, I’d always have enough in an emergency. I could run out and switch to the reserve in order to get to a gas station.

One night, I filled the front tank and went to a meeting at the church. When I came out I couldn’t get the truck started. I tried everything but couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Finally, I switched tanks and drove home on my reserve. I discovered later, the pump in the front tank had malfunctioned. I was glad I had the reserve to run on.

In my writing this week, I hit a wall. I’m writing the ending to a sequel and I have three different ways I could go. The end is clearly set in my mind, but I’m not sure how to get there. It’s frustrating because I’m so close to the finish. Also, I’ve been preparing the first book for submission, but editing doesn’t give me the creative boost I get from free writing.

Like my second tank, I have a project file on my hard drive. It’s full of books in different stages of development along with ideas and drafts. Like switching tanks, I wrote a great chapter for my next work in progress. I went back to editing with my creativity renewed. Now I can figure out what to do with my story.

I think we all have plot ideas and outlines in our heads. We can use them as a reserve like my gas tank. Developing those bits and pieces of plots can help whenever the creative juices stop flowing, and progress slows down. Besides, it’s nice to have a reserve when an editor asks what else you’re working on.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

2 comments:

Michael Knudsen said...

Great point, Keith. I always get stuck on my current WIP and have a mental block against moving on to something else, when doing just that could be the key to unlock the holdup on the current work.

L.T. Elliot said...

What a wonderful analogy, Keith! Keeping a "reserve" is such a smart idea. I think I'll have to copy you on this one.