I have evolved as a writer in that I need (not want) to write every day. It’s woven itself into the fabric of my very being. If I find the day slipping by and I haven’t written in one form or another, unease and guilt seeps into my soul. To relieve my self-imposed angst and still function in my day-to-day life, I’ve come up with a variety of remedies to keep my sanity somewhat intact.
Pencil and Paper
Depending where I am, I find a way to get the words out of my brain and onto something I can work from later. If I can’t get in front of my computer, I can work with pencil and paper. This also works really well for me if I’m stuck with what’s happening on the computer. The different format allows me to jot down words, phrases, and short bits that never fail to provide the solution to any computer mire I’ve found myself in. I also use paper/pencil when I’m in the early stages of a story. It’s the precursor to my outline. I love to toss ideas around and do some creative scribbling. I keep pencil and paper on my bedside table, and I always take them with me when I travel. Writing down bits and pieces is a good solution for me in the chaotic world of travel delays, early morning flights, and the never-ending quest for ideas. Travelers moving through a terminal can be very inspirational.
I use the Notes app on my phone in a similar manner as pencil and paper, but for a slightly different purpose. This usually happens after I’ve turned out the light for the evening. Some word or phrase that I’ve been searching for presents itself, and I don’t want to forget it. When this happens, I type it into my phone. If there’s something I need to research (Medieval wedding vows), I’ll type it in and work from those notes when I return to my computer. They are quick bits that clear my brain and allow it to settle and rest, knowing the idea or key word won’t fade from memory.
Nothing At All
Every now and again, I become stalled. I won’t say blocked, because I think there’s always a way through whatever it is that has slowed my forward progress. When this happens, I put everything aside and do something totally unrelated to writing. I might bake, do some gardening, or take a walk. Of course, my brain never stops mulling over the problem, but it’s on the back burner on a low simmer. I think about other things and check in with the problem now and again. I’m amazed at how often I find the solution when I give myself a break from the structure. It’s like I’ve given the problem the space and time to solve itself. The plot problem, character issue, or story structure challenge is resolved when I open the door and give the challenge the time it needs to find its own resolution.
When I utilize different methods and mechanisms, the writer in me is fulfilled. I feel that I have a variety of tools at my disposal to keep my stories moving forward while I work at a full-time job and live a full-time life.