By Leslie Lindsay
You have had one of those “perfect” writing days. The kind where you felt you were completely utterly in the zone, you close your laptop with a satisfying click, and have the best lines that ever poured out of your soul. You know what I am talking about?
Because I would go as far as to say you haven’t gotten a clue. No, no…now don’t get me wrong. I am sure you have had a least a moment or two where the above scenario really resonates, but overall–those really great, ahem, “perfect” writing days are few and far between.
Here’s how is usually goes: “I have a stupid synopsis to write. I don’t wanna. This is hard. Why does anyone even bother to write? What a waste of time, words, and paper. Blah. I am no good. No one will care. This is all a pipe dream. No agent will sell this.”
Okay–that’s how it is right now for me. I don’t want to project. But, haven’t you felt this way at least once before, too? Most of us will qualify a good writing day as one in which you 1) have the time to write and 2) pound out something you are somewhat ‘good’ with. It may not be the most perfect thing ever, but you can work with it.
For some dumb reason, us writers go back and do it again. Yep. I find myself hauling my laptop all over town–the coffee shop, the library, and now as I sit at Whole Foods near a faux fireplace after having eaten a nice, healthy organic lunch of tofu and quinoa. Nevermind that I had a snack-sized Baby Ruth shoved into my bag and a Pepsi. (Shhh…the folks at Whole Foods don’t need to know). I have written in the car on my laptop leeching off of various Wi-Fi connections. I have written in notebooks when I was bored from the endless chatter of my in-laws.
Were any of those “perfect” writing moments? No. But they did give me something to work with. In face, the bored notebook scene made it into my novel. Who knew?!
The key here is to get and stay inspired. Here are some of my favorite tips to do just that:
- Keep a notebook with you at all times. Seems like a nerdy thing to do? Not so much–it helps to jot down something you hear on the radio, or in front of you in line at the post office or grocery store. I keep mine in the car and will scribble down something at the next stop light or before pulling out of the parking lot.
- Have a binder or file folder to keep all of your ideas for a particular project in one place. Love me some binders! Each one is labeled with a working title and then I drop clippings, snippets, paragraphs of prose, photos, etc. into sheet protectors. It keeps my brian engaged.
- I have a goal to write something everyday–something of non-fiction and something fiction. Stretch yourself.
- Critique other’s work. It may seem like a waste of time at first, but trust me–you will become a better writer and will actually be inspired to work on your own stuff (like that stupid synopsis).
- Do some field research for a potential story. Once I stopped at a tiny roadside cemetary. Older than dirt, but curious as hell…I stepped out of my minivan and walked along the bumpy lawn, inpsecting names and dates of the headstones. I have learned that every time I venture into a graveyard, I feel weird. Headaches and tummy pains. Could I weave this into a story? You bet!
- Go to Barnes & Noble (or bookstore of your choice). Wander about the aisles and see what speaks to you. Turn over and read the back jacket blurb. Sniff the binding (okay–don’t do this if others can see), and thumb through the pages. Find a passage you love. Imagine your book among them.
Go home and write it. Write on, Wednesday!