Since submitting my manuscript for Book 3 of the Teen Wytche Saga, I’ve been reworking the first manuscript in my upcoming Middle Grade series. For two nights I have been blocked on a particular chapter – one I knew needed a lot of rewriting to crank up the tension. I woke today determined to tackle the beastly block.
Phase One: Procrastinate
Writers have to eat, right? And since the temperature was supposed to hit the 112 degree mark today, that meant grocery shopping had to be moved to the top of my To Do list. Once I had found a parking spot in the shade (score!) I reasoned, The bakery is just across the street. Why not buy my bread there?
Unwilling to relinquish a shady parking spot, I donned my hat, waded through the heat waves rising off the asphalt, and finally reached the six-lanes in all directions intersection that stood between me and a loaf of honey oat multi-grained bread. The metal signal button burned my finger. The automated recording yelled, “Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.” My blood pressure maxed. Finally the automated voice switched to “Walk sign is on. Walk sign is on.” Holding the brim of my hat, I speed walked to the far side as the voice counted down to one.
Aspen Mills Bakery and Deli makes some of the finest brownies on earth. So I really couldn’t just buy a loaf of bread, right? I knew you’d agree.
Purchases in hand, I hiked back to the intersection. When I first glanced up, I saw a motorcycle cop standing next to his bike in the middle of the intersection, his hands raised in a stop position. A quick sweep of the traffic revealed no accident.The traffic lights must be out. I looked back at the cop. He had vanished. I blinked.
I’m a shaman as well as an author. Yes, it was noon, I was hungry, and it was hotter than Hades. Any non-magical person would assume her eyes were playing tricks on her. But shamans can’t ignore visions. So I did a quick stop at the supermarket, then headed home, avoiding the intersection with the phantom cop.
Raising the Stakes: The Bargain
A bargain with yourself is easily broken (Who besides your dog and the gods would know?), so I went on Facebook and posted today’s house rule: No chocolate until I deal with the centaurs.
An earlier post had mentioned I was happily back writing about fairies, Vikings, and other magical creatures, so when I said centaurs, readers knew I referred to my Middle Grade trilogy. Those who know me, are well aware of my chocolate addiction. The stakes were high. The pressure huge.
Will Work For Chocolate
I kept the brownie in its little brown bag, stashed it in the pantry, ate lunch, andignored the little dessert as it you hoo-ed from the cupboard. Back in front of the computer, I groaned as the word “brownie” kept appearing in the chapter (one of the main characters is a British brownie, a little man/ house elf) but I remained tough.
What I Learned
I can be hyper-focused and amazingly productive when chocolate is at stake. I drew upon reserves I didn’t know I had, and powered through until I had wrestled those centaurs to the ground. I wielded the Delete button like a sword, excising text that slowed the action, and cutting a faulty subplot. Sure, I still have to hunt down the thread to the subplot and do some rewriting. But I kept my word. I dealt with the centaurs.
Now if you will excuse me, there is a brownie calling my name. And I have to figure out the shamanic meaning behind the phantom cop. I suspect he symbolized, Stop procrastinating and finish your rewrites!