Enforced Writing Breaks: Good for Planning?

If you read my last post you’ll know that the Nasty Mr Migraine stole my Mojo, if you didn’t read it then it’s just one click away!

Thank you for all your words of encouragement. I really appreciate the comments and support. It does make a massive difference.

During the writing break I decided to catch up on Twitter and read some excellent blog posts by the people I follow. That got me thinking that an enforced break from writing is a good way to re-charge the mental batteries and get some ideas flowing again.

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I’m 12 Chapters in to the re-write of my novel and a couple of times I’ve struggled to work out where I was in the timeline. I thought what better time to organise myself and take a step back and view the big picture? Mojo missing, so put the time to good use.

During the original planning phase for my novel I used PowerPoint. I know, I know, why did I have to use another one of those products? Well I bought MS Office, PP came with it, so why not?

I’m writing a crime novel and used it to plan around each victim, who might have had motive, opportunity etc. I could have scribbled this in my notebook, drawn it on some blank paper, but I chose to do a couple of slides. I find comfort in the neater approach and that helps me think clearly.

Anyway, I’ve gone through each chapter so far and mapped the scenes against the timeline. Some events happen before the book starts and I now have a clear plan on what happens and when. I’ll keep this going through the rest of the book so I can see at a glance where I am.

I spent a couple of days walking the streets, shouting into neighbours gardens searching for my Mojo. As I worked on the timeline and revisited the chapters the characters started chatting in my head. Once they began to do that my spider senses started tingling. I found my Mojo hiding under a bush in the back garden. Yay!

I managed to write 1k words during the week and I’m looking forward to a productive weekend.

Thank you again for all your kind words and encouragement and as always, thank you for reading.

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
This entry was posted in Novel In Progress, Reading, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Enforced Writing Breaks: Good for Planning?

  1. ConnieMaria says:

    Glad to hear it!! Hey great idea using PowerPoint. I never thought of that. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Libby O says:

    Great to hear the writerly Mojo is back!

    I’m all for getting on top of technology for writerly purposes. I’ve just started using Evernote to compile clusters of information around a theme. Not sure at this stage if it’ll be ongoing, but I like experimenting.

    And by the way: Snap, Pete! I just finished a blog post on this exact topic… but I’m scheduled for release on Monday morning. I find it so interesting how people come at the same topics with different goggles on. Stand by! 🙂

  3. Novel Girl says:

    Okay … Wow. This is seriously cool.

    You use PowerPoint to map out your stories? That’s a great idea! Also, I’ve just realised “writing the story in my head” makes the physical writing on a computer do easy and fast.

    Love your tips. 🙂

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Novel Girl. I don’t use it to map the whole story, just snippets. I used it for the family tree of the characters, the victim list and now the timeline. I find it easy to use and keeps everything neat and tidy.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Jeannie says:

    Regardless of what the experts tell us–to write everyday no matter what–I have found that sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I just came off of a 4 day dry spell and tried to write during that time, but couldn’t. I think you are right in that sometimes we need to take a step back and rejuvenate ourselves. I’m glad you find your mojo under that bush! Mine was sitting in the corner wrapped in chains smirking at me. 😉

    • Pete Denton says:

      Hahaha thanks, Jeannie. I might need to chain mine to keep him in check 😉

      I try to write most days, either something for the blog or my book. Don’t always manage it but the thought is there.

  5. Migraines all last week … There is a tribe of us on twitter … Authors who suffer with them. I hope you continue to work through this pain and have more writing epiphanies. Best always.

  6. rtd14 says:

    I read more of Stephen King’s book last night, On Writing. (and I realize it is a book I bring up a lot. I promise I read others.) He wrote about writer’s block when he wrote The Stand. Now it is a book I’ve never read. He reached a point in the book when he had to step away. He had written 500 pages. After a few weeks, he was out walking when his idea snapped and he went looking for a piece of paper.

    It is tough. I am in the editing process of my own book. I realize that it will take me one more year than I intended because of a book project I took on for a client and other editing work I’m doing right now.

    I enjoy your blog. You’re always encouraging others to keep going!

  7. Good to know that your mojo was just hiding and came back to you. And glad that the migraine is gone. Happy writing!

  8. Doug Bruns says:

    Good to hear your mojo was so close to home. I lost mine a few years ago and traced it down in Maine, running around all footloose and fancy-like. I couldn’t lasso it and ultimately gave in and moved to Maine. Now we are living happily ever after.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Hahaha, thanks, Doug. Great story.

      I’ve been to Maine. Twice. Thought I only made it off the plane into the departure lounge whilst my flights refuelled so I’m not sure it counts 🙂

  9. Ava Alexus says:

    I find like many a creative block, you just need to step away—do other things, and avoid writing altogether.

    I don’t know about enforced writing breaks… Although in saying that, I’ve been roughly writing about 2-3K as a chapter mark, so I guess that could be construed as my enforced writing break.

    Glad to hear you got your mojo back. The frustration that writing blocks bring are well… incredibly frustrating!

  10. smshamma says:

    This is quite amazing. I find it fascinating to follow the journey of someone who is writing a book. I’ve always wanted to do that myself, and I’ve made several attempts, but I always end up giving up halfway through because I get stuck at a certain point and I’m not sure how to move forward. This is very inspiring! Keep up the good work =)

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks for commenting. I’ve done the same with some novels where I reached a certain point and had no idea what to do next. With this novel I had a clear plan through to the ending. I might have changed some details but that plan has helped me finish the first draft. Good luck in finding the answers to your plot dilemmas and happy writing 🙂

  11. alittlebithorror says:

    I do try to write something every day, but there are days when it flows and days when it doesn’t. As I write short stories it’s quite easy to flit from one to another if I find one just isn’t doing it for me on a particular day.

    As for using PowerPoint – I’d never get anything else done. Bit of a formatting perfection freak here.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Hahaha thanks, Juliet. I usually am and have been know to set the view to 400% to make sure lines really do line up and reach.

      I agree about being able to flit between short stories and particularly Flash Fiction. At the moment I’m just concentrating on the novel so more difficult to pick anything else up. Still got to keep plodding 🙂

  12. You didn’t happen to find my Mojo under that bush, did you, Pete? It seems to have gone on vacation, I’ve had a quick look round my garden and all I can see are weeds and green slime 😦 Your post has given me hope that this enforced break will be effective for me too. I love the PowerPoint idea – we have the technology, but I rarely think to use it!

    • Pete Denton says:

      Hahaha, thanks, Jacqueline. I didn’t find any others out there but will look again. I did get a bit of a spurt after the break so hopefully you will too. At least it did let me do some ground work, always good.

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