Liquid Gold Blog Series 10: The Benefits of Tunnel Vision

This is a specialized Blog series I am posting about the process of publishing my next book from Inspiration to Publication. The working title is Liquid Gold and it is a sequel to my second novel Freedom’s Treasure which is available from Amazon for the Kindle.

A few years back a relative bought a new home. We’re going to call her Elle for the purposes of this blog. Elle had a home already in her town but she fell in love with the house and I can’t fault her. It had everything one could want including a screened porch, swimming pool and central air.

It was a HUD home which means it had a few issues. The house had sat empty for a little while and that means things were missing. Pipes, plumbing, wiring, all the things that go poof in a bad economy.

Because Elle already had a home that was paid off she was able to take her time to do the repairs, the painting and the like. Well, sort of. She scheduled knee surgery and then gave us a deadline to have her in there and settled. So the race was on but that’s not the point of today’s post.

I wrote a while back comparing writing a story to decorating a room. You pick one amazing piece, be it a lamp, bedspread, whatever, and decorate the room around it. Basically you pick your main story idea and the rest of the details are your accent pieces.

In this case we were looking at a whole house as opposed to a room and this wasn’t decorating alone. Perhaps this could be compared to writing a series.

Anyone who’s bought a home knows it’s not easy if things are broken or missing. One example: you can’t turn on the plumbing if the electricity doesn’t work and you can’t fix the electricity if you can’t turn it on to see where currents are and aren’t going. Without plumbing you can’t clean, fill the pool or you know, do pretty much anything. Same goes for power, of course.

It was a trail of breadcrumbs leading to happy living.

Do this to do this so you can do this…

I use a lot of lists in my books, mostly because I use them in real life. Generally they are mental lists but I will break down and write them down when the list is overwhelming. My longest personal list was 2 pages, front and back and that involved a cross country move. I’ll admit now it was overly comprehensive but that’s neither here nor there.

The new house required a list and it took 4 pages on a legal pad. It’s one thing to have all the To Do stuff bouncing around in your head, it’s another thing entirely to see it all on paper. I said overwhelming earlier? Oh the naivety of youth.

We had to come up with a plan. Short goals we wouldn’t be distracted from. Each small task leading to the next larger one until voila! She’s sleeping in her new bed.

It was so hard. I’d be scrubbing a wall and notice this weird spot on the floor and “I’m pretty sure I can get that up if I use acetone and didn’t I leave that in the basement from the other floor…” And off I’d go, the ultimate ADD girl.

It got to a point we would look at each other and simply say, “tunnel vision”. It’s not the greatest descriptor for people, they can feel it’s an insult, but without that nudging we would probably have thrown our tools and paint brushes to the ground and cried.

Tunnel vision: when you shut every outside distraction down until the only thing you see is the end goal and then stride your way toward it whether the steps be short and stumbling or long and assertive.

I’m thinking about this today because I am stuck on Chapter 7. The previous chapter was a turning point, at least for me. The words come a lot easier when I know which way the story goes and one of the major plot turns occurred in Six.

Because I finally figured out which way the characters were pushing me and made that decision I have a million details that will have to be worked out. Those details are creating a logjam in my brain.

Antagonist has to do this so protagonist can do that and antagonist discovers…. and so it goes.

Some writers use outlines. Those only work for me when I’m writing an essay. Because of my affection for lists, once something is on the page, that’s how the paper is going to go. Non-fiction writing requires a basic outline before I start, my creative wing and a prayer stuff gets outlined when I finish. It’s probably horribly unproductive but I have to say to each their own.

The home Elle created is beautiful. She did most of the work herself and with a little help from some friends and family. The woman is quite handy and any time you see one of my female characters wielding tools with professional precision, it’s inspired by her.

She was able to do much of her physical rehab from the knee surgery in a pool that started out nearly black and was crystal clear within a month. It was a labor of love.

So, for now, Chapter 7 is going to become the plumbing and Chapter 8 will be the electrical. If I can close down all the clever little distractions I give myself (forget the acetone, AK, finish washing the wall) I should be able to start moving forward and eventually finish my own “home”.

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