A writer’s brain is a tornado of thoughts. Some scenes and stories remain trapped in the vortex, while other bits of dialogue and character details fling out at unpredictable times.
When I first began writing, I devoured article after article recommending strategies to summon the writing fairies. The little winged wonders would only hover above the page, dropping words there if I graphed, plotted, and performed any other myriad of detailed steps. These time prescribed strategies didn’t fit me. I don’t think in a straight line. I think in a combination of frolicking sideways leaps, forward bounds, and pirouettes.
I’m learning about my own creative process. Part of that journey is changing my mindset. Scenes, characters, scenarios, and plot solutions already reside in my imagination. I’ve released myself from the burden of constructing them because they already exist in some rudimentary form. For me, the real question is how to release them onto paper.
Living a character’s experience or listening to music that matches the tone of a character or scene can get the ball rolling. Some ideas come like bolts of lightning when I am not thinking about writing at all. I also carry a small notepad or a digital recorder where ever I go. If I don’t scribble ideas on paper or store them on a gadget , other thoughts — new ones — jump into their place. Ideas not captured will elude me when pen meets paper or fingers meet keyboard.
I also go to the gym — to access creativity.
When ideas started coming to me during 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, I forgot most of them between stretching and the sauna. I began the habit of tearing a length of paper towel from the dispenser at the gym and borrowing pen from the office. I wrote plots for short stories, built back stories for characters and outlined blog posts. When this became routine, I started equipping myself in advance with a pencil and a folded sheet of lined paper. I bind them to my water bottle with an elastic band.
It is the meditative nature of the exercise that relaxes my mind and lets the thoughts flow. I never plan in advance of what I’ll think about. I relax and let come what may.
When I first began this journey into writing, I was so anxious to “get it right”. In retrospect, I would say that over studying how to begin writing became paralyzing instead of motivating. Process is personal and individual. I wouldn’t like to add to cacophony of advice — only to share what works for me. It’s never good to be pulled in too many directions.