Have you heard the expression ‘getting a second wind’? It usually means finding a new burst of energy during a race or long walk uphill but I think it also applies to writing. My best writing time is in the morning but after a couple of hours I’m usually near empty on my inner dial, fingers tired of hovering over the keyboard, words beginning to rush out of my brain as if some joker has hit the fire alarm and we all have to assemble outside.
So what to do? Today’s solution was to get up and cook soup. I find doing something practical like that helps gather back in those words and slaps the joker in detention. It fills up the inner petrol tank and provides that fresh burst of wind needed to billow creative sails. Working at home means I can do this whenever I like – there’s always plenty of household tasks to occupy me. So I chopped leeks and onions while listening to my book playlist, finding different tracks spoke to me with lyrics popping out to apply to the situation I was thinking about. I’m now primed to go back to the story.
Why does this work? I think the answer is that writing doesn’t always come from the conscious, rational part of our brain but sneaks around in the background. If you don’t look too hard at it, that’s when it can get to work. Another way of letting it free is to go for a walk because the same distraction process clicks in. Your rational side is busy thinking about the scenery, crossing the road, saying hi to neighbours, while the creative side comes out of hiding and rearranges the mental furniture in that bit in your brain devoted to the story.
Don’t believe me? Next time you hit a hitch in your story writing, give it a try and see what happens.
For those of you who like competitions and music and also have access to Facebook, today is the last day of a great competition running on my Joss Stirling site. The prize is a year’s subscription to Spotify so hurry over and make your entry before midnight! https://www.facebook.com/JossStirling The prize also includes a signed copy of my latest book, Stung. Love comes with a sting in its tail.