Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to Write without Writing

For the month of February, I'm not writing. I'm researching persistent vegetative states. I'm trying to outline my next WIP (which I've never done before.) I'm making creole bread pudding. I'm drawing 25' long murals of Brazilian carnival girls.*

My brain is bombarding me with alternate scenes for the ms. that's out with betas (Should have shown the scene in Staten Island instead of just talking about it.) And for the one that I'm about to do a major revision on (You know, you could have Anne interact with the villagers. That would be really interesting.) And last night, as I got up with littlest and put her back to bed, I saw the clock read 12:34. I thought, It's not midnight that's the witching hour it's 12:34. The numbers become a ladder, leading you up into another world. (Wha? I was half asleep...) Then I had a dream about an automata museum I visited years ago in York. The machines all came to life at once and it was terrible and beautiful at the same time.

What does it all mean? Absence makes the heart grow finder and taking a break from writing makes the muse keen. At least it does for me. Now that I'm not actively writing something, ideas, images music and art are vying for my attention. Ideas pour out. It's a creative-palooza over hear.

Sometimes, I need to remind myself that writing isn't only about butt in seat, fingers on keys. It's about thinking and reading and doing things that have nothing to do with writing. That's where some of the biggest magical leaps of creativity happen.

How do you write without writing?

*my eldest daughter's school is having an International Fair on March 1st. Last time I did a rain forest scene for Costa Rica. This time it's Brazil and carnivale girls. drawing the howler monkey last time was much easier...!


  1. I was just thinking about this last night. I think it's wise to step back from the keyboard and look at the big picture. You can't see everything if you're standing too close to the screen!

    1. so true! sometimes even a small break will make something in your brain fall into place. I guess that's why they say that inspiration comes when you aren't looking for it.

  2. I love your pic! Looks great!

    I totally agree with you. Our writer brains need time away. I could never write everyday. But I certainly can think about writing every day. Settings, characters, plots. After I write a story, I always take a month off. Then I come back to revise. Another month off. Then I'm usually itching to write something new. But if I don't take that time off, I burn out big time.

    1. PK - you're exactly right! That's why I get a little miffed when I'm at a conference and hear someone give the advice - you MUST write every day. I get where that's coming from, but I think it's misleading. And it makes new writers feel guilty if they aren't cranking out words every day. Like we need any more guilt, right?


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