Friday, January 7, 2011

Charging up the Ol' Gumption

I stopped writing on December 16th.  You know, to give myself a sort of Christmas vacation.  I worked hard all year, so I deserved a little break, right?  Well, I may have deserved one, but it didn't do me a damn bit of good.  Sure, I got a bunch of reading done.  I even crocheted some.  But while I was off doing not-writerly things, my battery was slowly losing its charge.

When the holiday was over, and I had loads of free time to write, I just couldn't get my gumption running again.  I turned the key and all it did was click.  (Been there enough times with stupid cars.  Never thought I'd get that with my writing.)  I thought I could sit down on December 27th and just pick up where I left off eleven days before.  Since I couldn't, I figured I must still need time off.  (Hey, it sounded good at the time.)

"I'll write after the new year!" I said to myself.  Surely the new year would recharge my gumption.  New year, new energy.  Right?  Umm, no.

New Year's Eve arrived that morning...  don't, I'm on a roll... and I was all set to spend the day typing away.  My goal of finishing this NaNo novel by the end of the year was shot, but that didn't mean I couldn't make a valiant effort on the last day.  Needless to say, that was shot in the ass, too.

How does one recharge the gumption hump?

Well, what worked for me was sitting down and re-reading what I'd already written on this book.  Now, generally, I don't like to read pages of a book I haven't finished yet.  It screws up my mojo because I always find things I could've done better or things I want to change.  And then there's always the danger that I'll read the beginning of an unfinished book and think it's so crappy I won't be able to make myself finish it.

This time, though, it was exactly what I needed.  I read the first five chapters of UEQ and felt recharged.  I still like the book.  In fact, it's better than I remember it being back when I started it in November.  Those five chapters made me remember why I was writing this book, it rejuvenated my voice, and it got my fingers back to typing.  Sure, I only wrote 500 some words, but it was a start.  I would've written more but my fingers were out of shape, damn it all.  (All of which, I deleted and rewrote the next night.)

Now I just need to keep this ball rolling and my gumption fully charged.  I don't know if re-reading will work in the future, but it was exactly what I needed.  I just wish I'd thought of it last week.  ;o)

What recharges you when you're feeling like your batteries are dead?  How do you feel about re-reading a manuscript you haven't finished yet, or is that something other writers do on a regular basis?


  1. Sorry, no suggestions since I've lost my gumption months ago and haven't been able to find it again. I believe it left town - maybe went south for the winter.

    Glad to hear you're back at the WIP. If you can read and remind yourself not to tweak, then maybe that's what you need to do to start the morning - then delve right back into writing.

    I loved the comment about 'rejuvenating' your voice :)

  2. I agree that rereading your novel cn inspire you to start up again. For me, it's mostly because I see that mine is complete CRAP! But that's okay. It makes me write again.

    Great post!

  3. That's such a great thing to get jazzed up after reading your own work. Awesome!

  4. Nope, that is exactly what I do too! Reread what I have and then by the time I'm at the end of it I'm ready! Good job getting your engine going again!!

  5. I agree with Colene. Just re-read what you have and by the time you get there it'll be better. You'll get your gumption back. Good luck!