Writing Discussion

Flow: that state of mind where the words drip out of your fingers at the speed of thought, the story unfolds in clearly front of you, the words echo its shape and feeling, and you lose all sense of time.

It doesn’t always happen for me. Some days it’s just plain difficult to achieve. When I’m tired, stressed, or distracted, I have to dip into my magical bag of writer’s tricks to help get the words going.

I always keep it in my pocket. Let’s see, I have it right here!

The red velvet pouch bathes your face with a golden light as the drawstring is pulled loose. A tag clearly labels it as “Tessa’s Magical Bag of Writing Tricks”. When you are no longer blinded by its magnificence, you notice several pieces of paper spread out on the table. You have a sneaking suspicion someone’s been eating a lot of fortune cookies.

The papers read:

  1. To brainstorm is divine.
  2. Get physical. Use a pen and paper.
  3. Keep a journal. Save your sanity.
  4. You will soon desire tea and a blanket.
  5. A  glass of wine is the solution.
  6. Daydreaming is writing minus the typing.
  7. Go for a walk. Your body will thank you.
  8. Your lucky lotto numbers are: 5 10 21 38 42 46

Journal writing is a big thing for me. I can’t sit down to write until banished the stresses of the day. My journal usually degenerates into a story brainstorming session, but that just gets me in the mood to write. Really my bag of tricks is just a list of things that help me get comfortable. I get the words unstuck by throwing a lot of them down onto paper without worrying if they’re good and bad. It’s about getting past the writing and back into the story.

Still some days it’s impossible to get into the flow.

What’s in your bag of tricks?

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Journal

Never write before bed.

I’d finished the first draft of a short story and decided to call it a night. The piece still needed a lot of work but I was tired and it was already getting late.

I opened my eyes at precicely 2 am. My brain was shuffling paragraphs, smoothing out sentences, and formulating alternate endings. I was editing in my sleep! If I wasn’t so tired I’d have gotten out of bed and worked on the damned story.  I opted to toss and turn in bed. I tried meditating, but I’ve never been very good at it. The story kept me staring at the ceiling for another hour. You can bet I spent the next day in a caffinated haze.

I learned my lesson.

I think I’ll stick to reading before bed. Dreaming about typing into a Microsoft word document is no fun. It’s more of a nightmare really.

PS Please excuse if the blog looks a little strange the next few days. I’m still playing around with the formatting.

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