Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Different ways I limber up the writing muscle

Since my time to write is extremely limited as well as seasonal, I have to be ready to write the moment opportunity arrives. In some ways, knowing that this is the only time I'll write for the next week does make me write whether I am feeling it or not.  And summer is my writer's holiday.  You can't pry me away from the computer whether it's flowing or not.  But I have found a few ways to make those first minutes writing worth pushing cobwebs aside.  I have several ways of limbering up.
  • I reread what I have written so far and hope to get pulled in by the bread crumbs I left behind the last time I closed the computer.  This does not always work as sometimes I am in a hurry and forget to leave the crumbs.
  • I lay down on the couch and tell myself to take a nap.  I think about the story and wait for the lights in my head to go out. As a sleeping technique, this never works.  My characters immediately sit up and start talking.  I start eavesdropping, and then off to the computer I slink hoping nobody notices.
  • I get on the treadmill (a real one, jeesh) and just think about what is going on in the current scene.  By the time the first ten minutes have gone by, I am dying to get off and start writing, but I have an unwritten contract that states I must remain on the treadmill the full twenty minutes.  That gets me my workout and a real desire to write.  Sometimes three scenes will unfold in front of me, and I do everything I can to hold on while I work from scene to scene.
  • I tell my daughter the problem.  She recommends a solution which causes me to explain why that just won't work though I assure her it is a fine suggestion.  By the time I am done explaining, I know just what I need to write.  I hope I am not destroying her confidence.  Hmm, better talk to her about that one.
  • I send my best writing bud Marcy an email, usually vaguely worded.  After we toss a few clarifying comments back and forth, things start to rev up in the muse department.  Marcy's great.
  • If these fail, or I forget to do them, I sit at the computer and say, "Just write whatever is falling out.  Something is bound to be useful."  And that's what I do.  Write, write, write until I am limber, and then I write a whole lot more.  This is the there is no-time-to-take-a-nap, ask another person, no-crumbs-left-behind approach.  Just sit down and type.  
Not one of these is the best of the bunch.  They all ultimately work for me.  In fact, this particular post relied entirely on the last technique.

How do you limber up?  Are you a consummate planner, a panster by practice, or do you fight with the wordsmith every time you sit down to work?  How do you make sure you pull the narrative out of the bag?

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