The Silver Lining | March Madness: Check in day 16

I want to briefly discuss that other March Madness, the one the rest of the world is gearing up for starting Thursday. The NCAA tournament. I’m so excited because Syracuse is a number one seed! This is especially exciting for me because Syracuse only won the entire tournament once, back in 2003 when I was a senior there. That was one of the best nights of my life.

The game started at 9pm but my friends and I got to the bar at noon so we would have a prime spot. All seats were already taken so I stood for nearly an entire day in front of the counter, chatting with the bartenders. I’m pretty sure I ate dinner, but I don’t really remember it. I could barely hear the game over the cheering fans, and without the announcers guiding me, I really had no idea what was happening because me and sports? We’re not exactly all that acquainted. When Hakim Warrick blocked one of the final shots from the opposing team and we won the game, I did what any college senior would do.

I called my parents.

Yes, I am that cool. I couldn’t really hear them over the noise, but I could tell they were excited. Once the game ended, the students had so much pent up energy that we raced out into the street. This seemed like a good idea until it became clear that cheering in the street in the middle of a snowstorm was pretty much all we could do to celebrate. I wish I could find a picture of the mosh pit of students crowded onto a tiny street, all wearing orange. Or well, most were wearing orange. My future fiance (who was just a friend at the time) was wearing his Halloween costume, since that had seemed like the best idea ever after a couple of beers.

I tell this story because that’s sort of how I feel right now. All this pent up energy but no place to exert it.

Lately, I *want* to write. I have my story outlined. The scenes play out in my head fully formed like a dress rehearsal. I just need to transcribe them. I’m excited to transcribe them. So why is it so difficult for me to sit down at the computer, set my fingers to the keys, and make it happen?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m antsy from querying. I’m doubting if my story is the best one for me to work on because another one is poking me in the head and that one is all sparkly and fresh. (At least to me.) And because of the two stories waging in my brain and everything else distracting me, I find I’m like the students on Marshall Street, excited but stuck standing still.

I’ve decided the only way to combat this is to indulge in both. I’m going to set aside certain times of the day to work on each. One I’ll be writing, the other I’ll be outlining. I know this doesn’t work for some people, but in my day job I’m constantly jumping around from project to project, usually without warning to prepare, so I’ve been trained to switch my mindset easily.

What do you do when you *want* to write but can’t seem to bring yourself to?

And how is everyone doing on their goals?

Also, as an added bonus, March Madness NCAA basketball is special to me for another reason. Back in 2007, I designed and animated the graphics for CBS Sports and I was the main person who handled basketball. Therefore, anytime you see the scoreboard ticker on CBS? I animated that. Anytime they show the brackets? I designed/animated that. I couldn’t find a video of this year’s stuff (prob since it hasn’t actually aired yet!) but here is a sample of the brackets from last year.

And don’t forget to check in at Jen Hayley’s blog tomorrow:

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25 Responses

  1. Oh my gosh, that is so cool you made those brackets! I’m totally impressed!!

    I think for me, half the battle is opening the document and just diving in. There’s the fear, I think, that you can’t get down on to paper what’s in your head and make it as good as in your head. You just have to open the document, read a few pages, get into the story, and then just start. Music always helps me – music that matches the story – to get me inspired.

    Good luck!

  2. I hope you do well with working on two projects. I think it’s great you are able to do that!

    Sweet design/animation!! Very cool!

    I finished my revisions yesterday!!

    Since this has been so helpful and there’s still time left in March, I think I’ll go back to my WIP and try to get at least three chapters written. =D

  3. I do what you do. Two things-revise old, outline new. AND…music/playlist for certain scenes usually gets me going.

    Happy revising and outlining! I’m doing both today, too. Well, the outline is more like a synopsis, a really loooong rambling synopsis…..

  4. Wow, those brackets are awesome 😀

    I wrote 650 words yesterday, but I’m at a part right now where I don’t really want to write. It should be easy for me, because I’ve been using a new, extremely detailed outline system (which has been working for me really well!) but it’s a change of pace from all my previous scenes, and I’m getting bogged down by homework as well. March Madness has been helping me a lot, because I’ve just had to sit down and write anyway (so I have something to check in with!)

  5. I had a setback in my goals yesterday, as my husband is in the hospital, 3 1/2 hours from home, and is undergoing surgery today. I did not find a moment yesterday to open my novel that I’m revising, but still plan to later today, as sometimes the routine of work is a comfort. Still hoping to be on track to finish this revision by the end of the month (halfway there now)>

  6. It’s so cool that you made those brackets!

    Like Lisa, when I have trouble getting started, it’s usually some weird resistance/fear that what I’m writing won’t be good enough. I have to give myself permission to just write and turn off my internal editor.

    I wrote 2000 words yesterday! And I wrote up an outline for the rest of the book. It’s really exciting to have a path to follow.

  7. Just finished all homework for the day and am now planning on writing for the next couple of hours or so.

    When I want to write but keep on getting distracted I tend to open the document, sit there for a minute, sometimes reading what I wrote the previous day (or my notes) and sometimes just staring into space, thinking. After I’m done with that I just have to make myself get the first sentence of the day out on paper, then a paragraph, and then it’s not so hard anymore. Once I get into it, I’m fine.

    Music also helps.


  8. I’m up to 500 words today so far (shhhh – I’m working on it at work!). I have two huge issues: 1-turning off the editor feature in my head, and just getting the words down on paper; 2- finding the time. I don’t even have kids yet! But I have a full-time job. And a part-time direct sales gig. And parents/family who live out of town that I like to visit. And a house that I bought in August that has needed MAJOR work. And this need for sleep. You ladies and gents with the kids, I applaud you!

  9. My battle is finding the time. With sick kids lazing about (plus getting the rest to buckle down with their homeschooling), I’m exhausted by the time my writing time rolls around. So I find myself sitting on the couch watching a rerun instead, too tired to even turn the channel.

    As for me, I’m still back on revising Chapter 2. Just because I haven’t actually revised anything since the first week of this challenge.

    le sigh

  10. I’m feeling a bit sloggish, myself. I know what I have to do, but the drive to do it is very low right now. Will proceed at anyrate, even if it’s at a slugs pace.

  11. So cool to see some of your animation work, Shana!

    Writing has been bare minimum lately, but I guess it’s something. Sounds like others are making great progress, which is awesome!

  12. What do you do when you *want* to write but can’t seem to bring yourself to?

    I flail around for a few weeks, come across a group of writers doing a March Madness writing challenge, and take the plunge. *g*

    I didn’t get any writing done today, but I’ve been doing all right the past few days, so I’m OK taking a day off. Right now my word count stands at 21500 words, and my goal for March is 30k, so I’m well under way!

  13. Shana,
    While I was working on my first novel, a second story came along and DEMANDED to be told. The two stories were polar opposites. So I alternated every other day. It worked for me. The story that insisted on being told helped me win a SCBWI WIP Grant last September.

    So I say, “Go for it.”

    When I want to write, but that invisible force field holds me back, I make a Butt In Chair deal. Fifteen minutes. BIC for just 15 minutes. The next thing I know it’s an hour later and I wonder where the time went.

    Which reminds me, this daylight savings thing messed me up. I lost an hour of my mornings and now I have to write in the afternoons, my non-peak time. Grrrr.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your writing journeys. I wouldn’t have been so diligent without all of you.

  14. Revised the two scenes I wanted to get done yesterday, and tonight am working on writing a “missing scene”.

    Good luck on your dual project strategy, Shana! I find that works fine for me if they’re in different stages (revising and first drafting, or first drafting and outlining… whatever). Sometimes when one won’t click, the other one totally will. 🙂

  15. How cool that you were in school when they won. BTW, I just did my picks on I have Syracuse going to the final four. I think I also have them going to the championship game, but I can’t remember (I tend to forget my picks right after I make them).

    When we see the graphics for this year, I’ll be bragging to my husband that I know who designed and animated them! 🙂

    “What do you do when you *want* to write but can’t seem to bring yourself to?”
    — Write down notes on the project. If I still can’t write, I read. Rinse and repeat until the writing flows.

    Good luck with switching between projects. I do that sometimes too.

    MM check in: Finished the first round of polishing for the 2 chapters I wrote this week. More polishing tomorrow before starting on new chapters Thursday.

  16. I did not have a chance to write today but I did have my author photos taken, so I consider it important distraction and worthy of at least checking in with you all. It looks like trying to find time is a popular challenge right now. I hope we all find a few extra hours and week AND the motivation to use them effectively!

    Cheers! -Kai

  17. I wrote 1.5 more scenes today. I need to go back through and count to see how close I am to my goal of 25 scenes. I’m getting close though. I have less than ten left for sure. 🙂

  18. I can’t believe this day is almost over (it’s 11:30 p.m. here in B.C.) and I haven’t done any writing today. I had good intentions, but Shana, I know what you mean about wanting to write and just not getting started. I have no excuse today except I dallied over a couple major chores (tidying my office after a furniture shift and updating our church website). Both jobs took me waaaaay longer than they needed to. I had plenty of opportunities to write anyway but I think I was unconsciously procrastinating.

    Sometimes we just need a day away from our w-i-p. Instead of feeling guilty I’m just going to accept that I took a break today and will plan a specific time to make a start tomorrow. I hope you can do that, too. I’ll be looking to see if you report in on Wednesday with good news. If I can do it, you can do it!

  19. Holy Schmuck!
    Sick husband, pet loss…sorry everyone. Hope things get better…and I whine or make excuses why I don’t write.
    Well today wasn’t so many words, but enough of a suggestion from a critter to finish a line that had bothered some…I’m happy with that. Had dentist appointment, so spent much of the day on the road.
    But boot me if I complain because I haven’t many excuses.

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