When I was immersed in my novel writing course last fall at UBCO I lived and breathed my novel. Even when I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about it. In the shower, while I cooked dinner, even while I watched television. My novel was set on simmer, and little ideas would bubble up and break on the surface of my consciousness once in a while, forcing me a grab a pen and sticky note to write them down. Then, the next time I sat down at my desk, I had five to ten sticky notes to go through systematically to help turn my novel back up to boil. I would amend and add to my story depending on what I had scribbled on the notes, and then continue on where I last left off.
When the university term ended, I took for granted my novel would still be on simmer, and didn’t notice when I accidentally shut it off entirely.
In January I started a different creative writing course, one focused on looking beyond the constraints of genre writing and focusing in part on long narrative poems. Without realizing it, that poetry pot was on simmer and the heating element under my novel was completely cold. Then it was like my novel had become a stranger to me, and I didn’t know how to fire up the intimacy I once had with my manuscript. So on Friday, thanks to Haley’s blog post I’m writing you just can’t see it I turned the simmer back on by bringing my manuscript (mentally) into the shower with me. Then I let it follow me around all day. At about 3 o’clock I finally sat down, backed myself up a chapter, read it out loud and starting editing. Then I added to the end of the last chapter I was working on and ended up about 210 words more than where I started. 210 words isn’t much, when my novel is on boil I can add anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 words in a sitting. But 210 words is still more than I’ve written in the last ten weeks, so I am thrilled.
I haven’t done any writing since then, yet. But my novel is once again on simmer and I’ve already got a few sticky notes waiting on my desk to prove it.