Last week, I was both disappointed and encouraged (though more the latter) by a rejection I got from a management company. Sandwiched between then and now was Thanksgiving, the mother of all holidays, especially for starving artists. Not only did I trek back to Northern Virginia (OK traffic on Wednesday, living Hell yesterday) for food, friends, family, and firewater (lots and lots of firewater), but I had some time to think about what I wanted to focus on next. While I didn't do as much thinking as I would have liked, I did let the ideas roll around in my wine and whiskey addled head.
As a writer, overcoming a writing slump can be a timely endeavor. I have four ideas I'm sorting through right now. I have a very bare-boned outline for two of them (read: I know roughly the trajectory they might take). One idea is heavy on the concept, but light on any concept of execution. The last is pretty much just an idea inferred from a title. What I do know, though, is that it's time to start putting things on paper again. (And, consequently, time to send out query letters for my comic book style spec - thanks, League, for help on the logline last week!)
It's an interesting thing we aspiring writers face - the ability to keep writing in the face of any possible distractor: holidays, relationships, family, and (the BIGGEST) often disagreeable day jobs. How do you do it? What's your trick for not letting that slump go on too long, for making sure you get back on the horse in time to finish the race?
I've found, and I think Zombie would agree, at least recently, that working on more than one project at a time is a great way to keep your head above the water. It's quite easy to be reluctant to do this, after all, wouldn't that mean working on more than one project at a time?!?! Daunting, yes, sometimes. Personally, while I'm a big proponent of outlines, I also hate them. I find that they give me, without fail, at least one whole week of pure, unguarded hell before I make headway in them. After that walk through fire, the writing I do seems cheap and dirty. I know exactly what'll come next, who will say what, and where Character X kicks the bucket. Working on two new projects at the same time usually would mean working on two new outlines at the same time, and that's just no good.
The key, then, is to dust off one of those scripts you've put on the back burner while working on that devil's minion of an outline at the same time. I think that, at any given time, there are about 5 scripts I have gathering proverbial dust in the deep recesses of my computer. As long as I still have any attachment to them, it's worth taking them out for a walk, at least as a safety blanket while I struggle with the outline of death.
Then again, outlines and oldies, maybe they're just my way of getting back on the horse. Writers, what are yours?