Bridge Building 101

You know that feeling you get when you sit down at your desk in the morning? That ugh, I don't want to be here, maybe I should get some cocoa or browse around the interwebs, blah, mornings suck kind of feeling?

If you don't, you're luckier than me. That's how I feel pretty much every day when I sit down at the computer. And yet by the end of the day, I've managed to build some momentum; words are flowing, ideas are humming, and in general, all's right with the world. Fast forward to the next morning, though, and it's back to ho hum, morning already, say this game of solitaire looks fascinating.

So when I was browsing through Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit recently, my eye lit on one of the techniques she recommends: Building a Bridge to the Next Day. Basically, it means you develop some little trick or technique for carrying some of your creative energy from one day on into the next, thus sidestepping the morning blues.

Ernest Hemmingway famously never stopped writing until he was sure he knew exactly what was coming next. That was his way of carrying his energy forward. I'm not sure this would work for me, but I've developed a little trick of my own.

For the next two weeks, whenever I'm done for the day, I plan to write a little note to myself about what I'm looking forward to in the next day's work. Something I'm excited about, something I'm writing toward. The more specific the better: "Kitty learns she's Koko's guardian," perhaps, or "Kitty and Gallo nearly kiss."

I'll write the note on an index card. Then, for the rest of the day, I'll use that card as a bookmark. This should result in me touching it several times a day, and hopefully smiling and picturing the moment I'm writing toward. Then, if all goes according to plan, I'll sit down the next morning and all that anticipation and excitement will translate to a productive morning at the keyboard.

Maybe it'll work, or maybe it won't and I'll have to examine another method of bridge building. Either way it should be fun.


Mark Kalmes said...

That sounds great! How is it working?

Jane said...

Um, OK, I guess. So far there have been no revolutionary gains. But, I'm going to keep working at it.

Becky said...

In my business, we call this "parking on the downhill slope." So, I quit writing with a clear idea of the first thing I'm going to write the next day--it can be something I'm eager to write, or just a specific research task, like, decide which scene in a novel to do an analysis of.