About a week ago, I was in the middle of promoting Warrior(Book 2), doing final edits on Rogue(3), and trying to write Fugitive(5) while my editor is reading Lover(4)—which I will then have to work on some more before the manuscript is accepted. Sound confusing? It gets worse.
On Saturday, I got an email from my editor—right before heading off to work that night—telling me that she is liking Lover, but wants a synopsis for Fugitive and my ideas for book six, which I'm calling Hero. That night, while my patient was asleep and dreaming, I wrote a bare-bones description of Hero and sent it to her telling her that I'd update the original synopsis for Fugitive(the first one I had ever written before writing the book!) and get it to her in a few days. On Sunday, she emailed me back saying she wants the Fugitive synopsis now, and I was like, “No, not yet! I'm not done with it!” For me, a synopsis is the LAST thing I usually write—when the book is finished and I know I've made all the changes I intend to make to it—until I get a load of the editorial changes that I have to work on; then the synopsis changes again.
So, there I was, 30,000 words into a 90,000 word book, and I have to send in a synopsis. “But it will change,” I lament. I don't like sending in things that aren't complete—it offends the perfectionist in me—but I updated it anyway and sent it in. I was surprised to discover just how much the story had changed as it was written—the heroine's name was even different in the original version!
Monday, I spent mostly with my husband, who was having a colonoscopy, poor guy! He came through it quite well, and then we went to lunch and ran a few errands which took most of the afternoon. When I got home, I had another email asking for a synopsis for Hero—asap. I didn't write anything—didn't know what to write—but worked on Rogue (which was due on Thursday) until until I couldn't keep my eyes open and then went to bed, but, needless to say, I didn't sleep much.
On Tuesday, I had a riding lesson in the morning and a meeting with the Medicaid caseworkers regarding my son's autism waiver that afternoon—which took two hours, but at least they come to your house! In my spare moments—on the road, etc.—I tried to think about that friggin' synopsis, but I couldn't keep my mind on it long enough to get anywhere. That evening, I worked on some blogs and tried to track down when the various sites I'm guest blogging on wanted my stuff, finished Rogue and sent it in, wrote a little more on Fugitive until I couldn't see straight, then took a shower and went to bed. I was exhausted, but read a little Harry Potter before turning off the lights. I don't even remember my husband coming to bed.
Then a very strange thing happened. Somewhere around 2 AM, I woke up with the story for Hero playing out in my mind like a three-part episode of Deep Space Nine. I didn't even have to think about the action; I could see it. It wasn't a dream, either. I was fully awake and the ol' brain was clicking along like it usually does when I leave it alone long enough to figure out things on its own. Then I decided that this was something I could blog about, and I ran through what I was going to write here. Somewhere around 4 AM, with my mission accomplished, I went back to sleep.
My brain is a very strange little beast. I can torment the hell out of it and get nothing, but leave it alone for a while, and it solves my problems all by itself—most of the time.
So, what do you do to kick your brain into gear? Do you starve it? Feed it candy? Ignore it? Take it for a drive in the country? Pickle it with alcohol, or drive it into a frenzy with caffeine? What works for you?—and, just as importantly, what doesn't work? Inquiring brains want to know!