Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writer's Intuition — Part I

When it comes to women's intuition, even Ghost Hunk has been converted from a skeptic to a true believer.  He has learned over the years to trust my intuition no matter how wacky it may seem.  And of course, it's almost always right.  But what about writer's intuition?  There are many facets to this wonder of the creative process, but for this post I'm going to tackle the question of the new project and how do you balance your WIP(s) and your inspirations.  When in the process are you thinking of your next book?

I've known writers who juggle a handful of manuscripts in various states of repair all at one time, but I have enough in my life to sort out, so that won't ever be me.  I tend to be a monogamous WIPster, a one-WIP-at-a-time kind of gal (excluding editor/agent revisions, of course).  I have, however, developed a sort of rhythm about these things.  I don't really know when the WIP is almost ready until I've had that ZING of inspiration for the next novel.  But I can't get that zing until the WIP is in the right place either.

I guess that's what I mean by writer's intuition.  The whole process is completely subconscious, lodged somewhere in that mystical land where the heart/gut sends invisible smoke signals to the brain and they figure out who is going to lead the search party and when.  Then you have the wind and the rain and everything else that can get in the way...

My poor WIP has been wheezing along for the last two months, inching its way towards the final hurrah but not quite getting up enough steam to make it over the hill.  Meanwhile, my writer's intuition has been sorting through the odd possibility or two for the next project.  On several occasions, I thought I may have struck gold but it turned out to be nothing more than pyrite and my WIP still lumbered along.

Then last week it happened.  The Zinger. It stuck me right between the eyes and deep in my heart because the subject is so close to home.  Amazingly, the WIP suddenly picked up steam too.  I got clarity and momentum all in one day!  I don't think the Zinger would have found me if I hadn't reached a certain point in my WIP, and I couldn't have cut that lodestone loose and revived my WIP unless I had met my Zinger.  It's all in the timing.

I know...this post wreaks of bad metaphors, but I'm saving the good stuff for the novels!  So how do you balance your WIPs and inspirations?