Monday, January 12, 2009

Writing Under Stress

Since I'm officially mid-move, I thought today's topic was appropriate.

It's not like we've never moved before. My live-in handyman spent the first part his adult life in the U.S. Coast Guard, and I tagged along. We never lived any one place longer than three years. A few times we moved every six months. So while it's still a pain and a chore, it's different for us than it would be for someone who's lived in the same town for forty years. But it's still time consuming and deadline oriented. And stress filled. Especially with a new puppy.

How do you find time to write at times like these?

Everyone will tell you if you want to write, you'll make the time. I'll tell you it ain't that easy. But you will find time to write something. And the important thing is to get something on the screen because you can rework and edit those words. While the words may be some of the worst you've ever written, you'll be surprised at the emotion that comes through. If you have nothing . . . well, you get the point.

If you find you can't focus enough to get into the story and characters, write yourself an email or change the color of the text in your manuscript and get personal. Vent, exult over minor victories of finally getting the linen closet packed, details of your day, whatever. As if you were journaling. Just don't call it that if you happen to be journal-phobic like yours truly.

You will be amazed at what comes out. Some really usable stuff that you would have missed otherwise. Your thoughts and emotions will add depth to your characters, or may bring in a subplot or two.

I found what works best for me is to open the place where I choose to write and leave the file or email open all day. I'm grabbing snatches of time throughout the day, some longer than others. I can just click on the file, pop in my thoughts at the moment, hit save, and I'm off and running again. After doing this a few times, I find on some days I'm actually able to jump into my character's head every once in a while.

And if it works for someone as scattered as I am these days, it will work for you.

Trust me.

4 comments:

Mary Moore said...

Good idea! I'm going to try it

I'm trying so hard to get back into writing, but finding the energy and the time are the problems.

Mark Troy said...

Sounds like a workable idea. Promise yourself no more than five minutes each time you sit down, but make the most of those five minutes.

Dick Stodghill said...

I'm always amazed at what comes out, although I never intend it to be that way.

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm usually amazed by what comes out in a normal writing day, too. Sometimes, even in a good way!