Changing Gears

Have you ever driven a car with manual gears?  If you have, then you’ve probably experienced that painful grinding scrape you cause when you don’t change smoothly from one gear to the next.

“If you can’t find ’em, grind ’em!” My brother used to shout as I was learning to drive.  My father is the one who taught me finesse.  There’s a flow to changing gears that happens when you establish the right rhythm of foot to clutch and hand to gearshift. You learn the particular foibles of the car you’re driving.  You learn its clutch.  You learn its gears.

I anticipated my children returning to school with visions of much productivity dancing in my head, but I find myself grinding away this early September morning.  With school projects, teenage social dilemmas and What Not to Wear happening live in my living room every morning, I find myself struggling to change from MOM to WRITER even when the house goes quiet and my pages wait.

And because I’m having a hard time finding the right gear, I’ve been grinding away trying to force the shift.

This morning as I sipped my coffee I realized I’ve been ignoring the foibles of the car I’m trying to drive.  The gears of my writing process have never been ones I could force into place.  I write romance because I love romance.  A long time ago my father taught me it isn’t about getting to fifth gear as quickly as possible.  It’s about enjoying the drive!

So, today I plan to jump behind the wheel of my current WIP.  But not in the way you might think.  I’m not going to be racking up the word count or racing to THE END.  I’m going to take a long walk.  I’m going to read.  I’m going to watch some inspirational scenes from my favorite movies. I’m going to find a picture of my hero and my heroine.  I might even discover their song.  I have an empty bulletin board above my desk just waiting for some scrips and scraps of story paraphernalia that will help bring this world and the characters I’m creating to life.

Today is all about changing gears.

Because I know from experience that with a little finesse instead of force, the words will come.

3 Responses to “Changing Gears”
  1. Amanda Vyne says:

    Great post, Barbara. And I commiserate with you. I made sure my house was clean before I went to bed. Got the kids off to school and then…..silence. It took me two hours to change gears.

  2. Suzanne Rock says:

    Hey Barbara – another great post, and I hear you. Fall is the beginning of school and all of these other social activities. Its hard to untangle yourself from life to focus on writing. The process of changing gears is different for everyone, I think. Here’s hoping you found what works for you and got the motivation you needed to jump back into your story. 😉

  3. Grace Conley says:

    Barbara — lovely post! Aaarrghh, school started for our household on Tuesday — and I still haven’t managed to get in gear yet. The quiet has been deafening. I think I’ll follow your advice and switch things up and see what happens…

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