Monday, December 23, 2013

Abstract Thoughts: Getting the Train Moving

Writings of The Muse
I know I just blogged a nice whiney little rant last week, and you thought you were going to get a break from me for a few weeks, but I'm back again. The Inner Editor traded blogging weeks with me. She didn't really know how to explain what's been going on lately. It requires a good metaphor, and encouraging imagining isn't really her forte.

Picture a train coupled up to something heavy. I don't mean one of those cute little trolley-like trains you see in old movies, which are only capable of hauling half a dozen little old ladies drinking tea and nibbling on scones. I mean a big monster of a train pulling... I don't know, industrial mining equipment or something.

Now picture what happens when that train tries to start moving. One doesn't just drop something like a train into drive and zip away, 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds. The engine revs, the wheels wobble, the axles strain. Things inside the engine that I don't actually know the names of grind and groan come dangerously close to snapping and shattering into a million tiny pieces. Potential energy ramps up and up and up until finally, ever so slowly, the train gets enough power together to lurch into motion.

The wheels rock forward a little, then a little more, and then a little more, eventually turning all the way round. The next rotation is easier, but not by much. Momentum builds little by little and the wheels turn faster and faster and eventually the train is screaming down the track.

That whole start up process doesn't look like much from the outside. I'm not a train expert, by any means, so I couldn't really say. But it probably only takes a few minutes, really.

But from inside the engine, it must feel like an eternity.

If you can place yourself in the role of that engine, you'll have a good idea of what it's been like to live in Renee's head over the past few weeks. The degree of difficulty in going back to Familiar after spending a month on Guardian was unexpected. After all, we've taken time away from working before and come back to it with no problems.

But the reality of that kind of break is that while Renee is out of the game, the rest of us are still plugging away at it in the background. This time was different. This time Renee didn't just take a break; we all actively engaged in working on a completely different project. Familiar was still running in the background, I suppose, but no one was really paying any attention to it.

So we learned a very important lesson this year thanks to NaNoWriMo. Leaving Guardian's world and getting back into the right mindset for Familiar has taken a lot more effort than any of us anticipated. So we'll have to plan for that if we ever do something like this again.

But I think we're good now. The wheels might still be a little wobbly, but they're turning again at least. I sincerely hope it won't be long now before momentum is driving us so hard the brakes become useless.

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