Oh, what a week my blog-friends. I worked from 8 am to 7 pm Monday through Thursday without taking a lunch break or anything... the good news is I made my deadline, though I was a total zombie. I actually left work at 4:50 on Friday, and it was like "Oh, daylight, and I'm leaving. Totally bizarre." I had a massive earache going on at the beginning of the week, too, so I survived on Tylenol and episodes of Weeds, which is my new favorite TV show. Not a lick of writing took place, which was a bummer.
So, this weekend I've been trying to recover. Yesterday was busy because I was running errands in town and then at the local winter festival with my son for a few hours. Today I did some major house cleaning because it had gotten completely OC, and then early this evening we dragged out all the Christmas stuff. Santa and his elves have officially laid siege on my house. It is now full of holiday goodness. However, while decorating I noticed the curious/evil gleam in Literary Kitty's eyes as she crouched by the Christmas village, quietly observing this strange ritual of the humans. Think: Jurassic Park when the velociraptors narrow their eyes as they watch their prey. Her eyes were gleaming with devious feline plans involving the torture and assassination of various Christmas ornaments and carefully wrapped gifts.
Now, I am going somewhere writerly with this, I promise. Earlier I was spritzing and vacuuming and washing dishes. Heck, I even contemplated mopping pretty seriously for about five minutes, but then decided to eat pie and write instead (it's the thought that counts, right?). I started thinking, getting ready to clean the house is like getting ready to start a writing project. Sometimes it seems too huge of a task, too overwhelming. There are a million things swirling about in my brain. So, for either task, I break it down into steps. When writing, I actually write down these steps, like a to-do list. For instance, when I was starting my most recent major edit, I did a little brainstorming about what I was going to change, and then ideas started popping and I felt overloaded. So I typed up a quick list of the new scenes I was going to write, and where I was going to work them in and how I was going to connect with or add to existing scenes.
Once I have my list, then I have to pick a place to start. For me, this isn't always a chronological progression through the story. Sometimes I'll go ahead and write those scenes that are clawing at the inside of my brain. Later I'll go back and write the connecting pieces. The important part for me is to make a decision, and then take action. I can’t let myself get overwhelmed by the whole ordeal, I just pick a room in the house/scene of the novel and go for it!
So, how do you guys go about starting projects? What keeps you from getting overwhelmed?