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Project Immersion

Cheryl's Musings: Project Immersion

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Project Immersion

As a writer with family, pets, and a home remodeling project, I get much of my work done in "borrowed moments" I find between errands or in the early mornings, before the rest of my house wakes. Given ten free minutes, I can usually dive into my WIP...but not always. The "borrowed moments" method of writing only works when I know my project so well that I can pick it up at any moment and remember where I left off. If I'm still figuring out what to write, I need a larger block of time to piece together scattered facts and ideas.

That was the case with my current work-in-progress, a nonfiction picture book that's two parts history and one part science. I've gathered piles and piles of information, but I needed a large block of time to sort it into meaning. Large blocks of time can be tough to find in my house, though, so I took this past weekend for "Project Immersion." Sound fun? Here's how it works.

  1. Start with a general goal. What do you want to accomplish?

    My goal was to pull together (mentally and literally) two file boxes of notes and information on my current project.

  2. Hone the goal--make it specific.

    My specific goals were: read and take notes on several reference books, visit my local historical library for some research in the rare book department, and review my collected information so I could start thinking how best to bring it all together.

  3. Arrange a time.

    With the help of an extremely supportive husband, I planned a writing weekend two months in advance. Your project might not require an entire weekend. Determine how large a time chunk you need, clear the space on your calendar, and brainstorm how to make it happen.

  4. Arrange a quiet, preferably inexpensive, place to work.

    I knew I needed access to the internet and to the local library, so I booked a hotel room in town using to "bid" for a room. I didn't get to choose the exact hotel, but I did get to choose my price--and I ended up in a lovely room with access to an outdoor pool, hot tub, and exercise room. Usually, I look for less expensive options such as house sitting, camping, or staying at a nearby retreat house.

  5. Gather supplies and go!

    I take only the essentials: books, computer, file boxes--and, of course, coffee and chocolate.

My report? I have more notes, more lists of books to research, and more facts to collate--and I accomplished my goal. I have the big picture for this project, and I'm ready to finish the rewrite!



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