How to Keep Your Head in Your Story by Jennifer Slattery


Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.
They say, to
write the best tales, writers must become completely immersed in storyworld. This
is great when the house is quiet, the kids are gone, and the rest of your world
stops. But how we stay in the story when life pulls us from it?
It happens to me
every story. 50K or so words in, I encounter something unexpected that steals
my time and keeps me from my work-in-progress. When this happens, the plot I’d
just begun to immerse myself in begins to disintegrate. The longer I’m away,
the more it fades until I’m left with a looming deadline and a bunch of random
ideas on Post-it notes.  
The longer I’m
away from my keyboard, the harder it is to write. Perhaps you can relate. If
so, the next time life pulls you from your computer, try the following to keep
your head in the game:
Work on your
story daily even if for only ten minutes.
I can already
hear your retorts: “I don’t have time. Life got crazy, remember?”
My counter: I
doubt that any of us truly don’t have ten minutes to write, revise, or read our
work-in-progress. Ten minutes.
We can all do
that, right?
Steal a few
moments during commercials, maybe? Revise the last page you wrote while you’re
waiting for noodles to boil? Or maybe all you do is jot down some random
brainstorming ideas on a notepad. What you do isn’t as important as the doing.
We all have lots
of hidden moments sprinkled throughout our day, moments wasted mindlessly. So
why don’t we use them to further our stories? I suspect the answers to that
question are:
1.    
We haven’t
developed the habit of making the most of every moment and therefore live a
chunk of our life on autopilot.
2.    
We
assume our time is only valuable when we produce something. For example, we
might dismiss the idea of doing anything writing related while watching
television, convinced we haven’t enough time to write anything of value. But
during times of chaos, we should alter our goal from production to caring for
our muse.
Don’t have access to your computer? That
doesn’t mean you have to leave storyworld completely. Simply print your novel
out and set it by your bedside table—on top of your remote. Ah-ha! Are
you rethinking your availability? Then read it for ten to fifteen minutes
before going to bed.
Here’s why it works: Our brains are
amazing, slightly obsessive machines that love to camp out on whatever is
dominating our lives at any given moment. When chaos comes, that chaos fights
to occupy our every thought, stealing our creativity and making it all the
harder to rekindle it. But if we’d but find ways throughout our day to think
dig into our story, we’ll find our brain will have a tendency to stay there,
working out details and visualizing scenes. Then, when we return to our
keyboards, not only will the plot and characters be fresh, but they may have
even deepened as they’ve had time to percolate.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever
tried any of the above, and if so, what were the results? What do you do to
stay in the story when life gets crazy? Share your thoughts with us; we can all
learn from one another. 
Visit
with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 
When Dawn Breaks:
 
As the hurricane forces
Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution motivate her to
head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a
handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work,
one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the
one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the
three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at
having love again in order to be restored?
You
can buy a copy here:
On
Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-dawn-breaks-a-novel-jennifer-slattery/1120694122?ean=9781596694231
On
CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/when-dawn-breaks-a-novel/jennifer-slattery/9781596694231/pd/694231