This morning, as I got back to the manuscript I had not been able to work with for a couple of weeks, I was reminded of the problem of continuity. How do you put aside work that is dependent to some degree on the heat of inspiration, then pick it back up again and keep going after that original burst has cooled off?
Over the years I’ve figured out a simple short cut back to that original state of mind: notes to self. This sounds simple-minded, and it probably is, but I’ve found that, at the end of a writing session, especially one where I’m working on a first draft, it’s really helpful to take a minute or two to scribble down a few phrases about where I think the piece is going. Even something as seemingly skeletal as: “Time should seem to stop and the girl should enter the room and play the piano” can help re-ignite the scene in my imagination and make it easier for me to re-enter the world I’m trying to create in my mind and on the page.
These notes feel like a handshake across time. I write a note today as a way of extending a greeting to the me who will sit down to the same page tomorrow: Good morning! Welcome back to your imagination.