Right now, the downstairs of my townhouse is in complete disarray. For the past few months, the hubs and I have been looking at houses, duplexes, and luxury apartments; over the weekend, we found the one we wanted. Perfect location, perfect price, perfect size – the full nine yards. Being that we don’t want to pay double rent, we must motor in order to get out of our current place by the end of the month. Thankfully, we had the foresight to go month to month well before our lease was set to expire/renew; all that’s left is the actual approval of our application and notifying our current landlords that we won’t be here in October.
In the meantime, we have a week to pack. Well, the big stuff, at least. The townhouse is a freakin’ warzone. Donating two trash bags, two suitcases, and one plastic tub full of clothing, not to mention selling enough DVDs to bring in over $300, has done little to dent the amount of stuff the hubs and I have collected over the years.
Being scattered, disorganized, frenzied, and without direction obviously isn’t unique to moving. We have a goal: get the hell out of our place and into the new one. Writers also have a goal: take an idea, nurture it, build upon it, watch it mature, and turn it into a coherent piece of literature. If you think this task is any less daunting, you’re kidding yourself. Piecing scenes, characters, plot arcs, twists, conflict, relationships, and resolution into an entertaining, captivating, well-written story that any publisher would be proud to brand is downright terrifying.
Even for you pantsers out there, there is no harm in keeping a small notebook close at hand for when inspiration strikes. You could be standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart and suddenly know how to dig yourself out of the hole you’ve managed to land in. By the time you sit down to write it, though, the finer details might have escaped you, so you’re back at square one. And please, from someone who has learned from experience do not rely on your memory to keep things in check. I don’t care how sharp you think you are, you are bound to forget where you packed what. This doesn’t necessarily mean keeping a detailed journal (as I do), but scribbling coherent notes will save you a lot of searching, and notes are not set in stone. My aunt once lamented over the fact she had taken the time to write a quick two-word descriptor for a project, yet without reference or reason, had no idea what she meant when she got back around to it. I know myself too well to think I can keep everything locked in my mind, and my memory has been lauded by friends has being freakishly accurate.
If you find yourself staring down a monstrous undertaking, take a deep breath. More often than not, things have a way of working themselves out…no matter how unlikely it might seem at the time.