>I’ve been amusing myself again by doing writing analogies. This time it’s the Titanic Theory of Writing – or specifically, how to manage your ‘ship’ without hitting an ice-berg and having your writing productivity plummet to zero (with a few ideas fleeing in the lifeboats).
In this case the icebergs are a handy analogy for creative lockjaw. The emotional freeze that stops your creativity and the words flowing. It’s not much good running into one and saying ‘Oh Damn!’ Much better to be on the lookout for dangerous waters – events and snarl-ups that will dent your productivity. It is better to sail around them or cut back the engines then rip out the hull.:) These would be things along the lines of staying alert for events coming up that will restrict writing time, or knowing that you will get a manuscript back with red pen all over it – both of which might effect your flow, or at least divert energy. That might be time to cut back the engines and chart a course.
You also need to stoke up the coal-fired boilers to give yourself motive force. Maybe plan a few things to keep the motivation and love of story alive inside you as well. Need to keep the flame alive inside you to keep going along. Of course all good nineteenth century engineers knew you did not want too much pressure in the boiler – otherwise kaboom! Not point winding yourself up and setting the expectations too high.
I’ve recently had to jump the hoops of a few Navigation Room incidents. The ship needs to chart its course (OK so I am a plotter – sue me!). I need a certain amount of planning before I declare ‘full steam ahead’.
And last but not least – make sure you have enough lifeboats! Plan emergency measures for severe dips. I used to keep a David Gemmell novel in a sealed envelope along with written instructions (no I’m not kidding).
What’s your favourite writing analogy? How do you keep the coal-fires burning on your ship of prose?