New Footwork Can Give Your Old Mojo Young Legs--Reb MacRath
I had the right footwork down...so I thought.
So there shouldn't have been any problem. Come on! I'd written more than a dozen novels...picked up a major award...and over the years I'd found tacks to turn books out more quickly without sacrificing quality. And yet here I was at the start of my next novel...shaky as a schoolboy before a major exam.
I'd finished the usual first month of filling a Moleskine notebook with questions and notes. Done! I now knew the basic storyline and had two full months to cook up my outline. This has worked over and over--and yet my confidence was fading.
On an unrelated whim one day I ordered a package of reporter's stiff-covered 3.75" x 8" notebooks manufactured by Portage. I'd thought the size would be perfect for household use: one book for finances...one for tracking orders...one for bills...etc. But I had a lightbulb moment the same day the notebooks arrived. I could try using one of these for 'master keys' extracted from my Moleskine scribblings. Reviewing and distilling would reinforce my faith in what I had. Perfect except for one last missing thing:
This book had to look and feel as special as a secret weapon. It stood to reason that reporters and other pros would want good covers for their notebooks. Voila! In just seconds an Amazon search turned up a premium black leather cover. And in a few days, I had the missing link to new footwork for the old writing dance.
Contents: anything I think I'll need at my fingertips: crudely drawn maps of two small towns...notes on motorcycles and routes from Seattle to Arizona...charts of the sizes of cities vs. towns...profiles for new characters...Etc.
Is information power? Surely--but only if we can retrieve it. And distilling scores of illegible pages into one trim sexy notebook gave me back the confidence that had begun to dwindle.
A new notebook will replace this one when I complete the WIP. No need to reinvent the wheel every single time. But I'll continue shaking up something else I take for granted with each new book I do.
The only thing I'm confident that I won't try is writing in the nude.
This is my report.