Friday, December 26, 2014

Writing When You're Not Writing

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great Christmas. Your minds may not be tuned to the writing channel of your lives just now, but that’s okay; you can save this post for later! I’ll also try to keep it short today.

Do you ever feel guilty when you’re not writing—when you’re not able to sit down at your desk with your computer or notebook and type out the words that will inch along your work-in-progress? It’s necessary, of course, to carve out ample time to do that, but those hours when you’re not writing can be just as productive, in a different way. (On a side note, when you’re a writer, not much in your life goes to waste where it comes to your art; experiences are recyclable!) However, there are definite moments in a day when you can make progress without being parked in front of a blank page.

Just use that wonderful gift of God that travels instantaneously across time and space. Your mind is your main tool for the task of writing, after all. So, think about your story as if you were sitting down to type, whether you’re on a walk, riding in a car, waiting somewhere, or doing a relatively mindless job. Use that dead time when you’re alone or no one is talking with you and plan what you’re going to write next. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a eureka moment, gotten over a snag, or even just sketched out a character while I’ve walked dogs, painted walls, stained wood, or vacuumed. My mind traveled to my story, and when I could tap out my ideas at home, they were fully formed and dropped onto the page in a tenth of the amount of time.

For example, earlier this week I set out on a walk with nary a clue as to what I was going to write for an article … and I came up with this idea about midway. I thought it out, and writing it took me far less time than fretting it forth in front of the laptop screen. So, you see, it works!

Don't Just Stand There ... Think, Plot, Plan!
Authors have been known to mull over and plan out a whole novel before they wrote a word, and then buckled down and completed it in a few months, writing everything they imagined with little effort. Never underestimate what those hours away from your computer can produce. I would encourage you to look for those minutes in your day when you’re free to purposefully think about your story. Perhaps you can even imagine yourself typing out the words. Just make progress somehow in your mind … figuring out what comes next is more than half the battle!

During what activities can you safely and freely ponder your writing project?

Happy New Year! 

Kelsey Bryant is an author, blogger, and copy editor who loves the Lord. She revels in many things: the beauty of God's Word, the music of English, the wonder of nature, the joy of creativity, the freedom of motion, the richness of literature, the intrigue of history ... and much more. To learn more about her, visit her website or blog.  

8 comments:

  1. Good post, Kelsey! This is definitely true. Thanks for the encouragement! I know I can feel disappointed when I haven't written in a while.

    -Micaiah-

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    1. I know the feeling of disappointment! But it's always a relief to know I can return to it with enough application. :)
      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Usually when I am doing dishes or in the shower...plenty of time to mull over what to do next or how to work out something later on in the story :)

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    1. Oh, good ones! I think I've done that at those times before. :) Repetitive chores can actually help you think better!
      Thanks for your comment!

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  3. Great post, Kelsey! I love to plot while taking a country walk, and it works well toward finding a way to go when I'm stumped. Thank you for the reminder, and happy new year to you too! :)

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    1. Country walks (especially in England) must be quite productive. :) There's a certain road in our neighborhood that is pretty countryside, with hills and woods around, and I always feel the most creative in that spot, by far.
      Thank you for commenting!

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  4. I usually mentally work on my stories while I'm riding in the car or trying to go to sleep. : )

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    1. Perfect! Both are great places. Lying in bed is a good time, so long as you remember what you've thought of! : ) Before I had novels I was working on consistently, I used to act out stories in my mind at night.
      Thanks for your comment! (Sorry I didn't see it right away!)

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