Fast Company’s Art Markman has four suggestions:
Break it down
Make an outline
Just get something down
Write for five more minutes
If the list doesn’t tell you enough [and it doesn’t], here is the fleshed out version.
And I would add another suggestion.
Bake…[no, it doesn’t necessarily help you generate a bestseller, but it’s great for an afternoon coffee and who knows, the caramel experiment might just pay off in a fun blog post.]
Yes, I owe it to the local citizenry that I stay informed on the vital issues of the day.
Fellow writers, be on the lookout for similar social chaos. You never know what lurks around the corner…of your local Ace Hardware.
and—ssshhhh–writing at the same time.
Don’t worry. No fatalities…though running that highway cop onto the median wasn’t my finest moment.
And then there was the burrito cart guy who…well, anyway, yes, making a drive up north and a notebook is on my lap and I’ve gotten pretty good at writing without looking. It’s almost as if I look forward to slowed traffic so I can decipher a few items where the pen [or the mind] went a bit astray.
Some mid-trip observations:
1. The reach-for-popcorn instinct is irrepressible.
2. The reach-for-popcorn instinct while driving and writing is dangerous, especially for those humans with only two hands.
3. Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity by Josh Linkner is worth repeated readings/listenings.
4. James Taylor’s Christmas Album–pretty nice August road trip listening, actually.
It came along for the ride during a hurried toss of CDs into the travel bag.
Here Comes the Sun He teams with YoYo Ma for this version.
Just read that 10,000 polling sites could be hacked because they’re still using Windows 7. How about if they cross up the Russians and backslide to Windows Vista? Windows ME, anyone? How about if we use Apple Newtons as the sole voting device?
Skipping sports [who cares about players holding out for more millions and the latest Vegas odds anyway?] and head over to Dear Abby…
One writer signed her letter as ‘Not Pregnant in Texas’. So, if she crossed state lines, would she then be pregnant?
Then there was the concerned mom who wanted to know the proper etiquette on how to end a phone conversation with her son serving overseas in the military. The ol’ ‘night time on her end, the next morning on his end’ quandary that at one time or another has vexed pretty much everyone…okay, perhaps no one.
“Sir! Yes, sir! Failed to properly inspect munitions dump, sir! Confused by mother’s wishing me a good night at 0900 hours, sir!”
And really, why nettle poor overworked Abby with that question? Send it straight to Congress and, after months of wrangling, mud wrestling, and filibustering, she’ll have her answer.
Prior to a marathon years ago, seems a fellow runner had a pre-race issue…
Not sure how many other inane posts I’ll have time for, considering my literary endeavors the rest of the week…
My last post dealt with blaming others for my not writing.
Hey, whatever gets me generating text…»
But on a more serious note, I ran across Steven Kotler, who has a popular course called Flow for Writers.
So I looked further into the topic and ran across this informative interview. Compare your strategies to his.
Do you listen to music when you write, or do you prefer silence, or something else on in the background?
“…70 percent of the time I will listen to music with headphones so it’s right up in my ear. I will usually make one or two playlists for a book and I will listen to the same playlist over and over and over again…if I find a playlist that I kicked into a flow state with really early on in my process and was very successful I will keep using it because it will keep driving that flow.”
When you’re staring at the screen at 4:00 AM, do you just start clicking away? What’s going through your head at that initial moment?
“Even if the day before was a terrible writing day, I am so fired up to go at it again. I can be an absolutely miserable writer sometimes, but I wake up every day so fired up to do this.”
And finally, to put me to shame with all my finger pointing…
“When I wrote West of Jesus I had spent three years in bed with Lyme disease and I needed to tell that story to open the book, but I thought, ‘I spent three years in bed with Lyme but who cares? Compared to getting cancer or losing a limb, so what?’”
What’s your favorite music to carry you through your writing sessions?
What do you do to help you get into ‘flow’?
I directed one of my morning pages blaming others for my not writing.
For starters, I blamed Hilary Mantel, who said,
“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep,
, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” [The Guardian, 25 February 2010]
One small segment of her message seemed to resonate…
I repeat…all her fault.
And I blame Trader Joe’s who is selling organic strawberries for $2.50 a pound. Let’s face it, most of those gorgeous ones in the supermarket have very little flavor and considering they are one of the dirty dozen, well, that doesn’t help in the ‘appeal’ category.
But back to my relentless search for scapegoats…let’s see…yes! Sam Merritt’s to blame for serving up this winning recipe for strawberry cream cheese pie.
My only complaint: “Return to refrigerator and allow to set at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) before slicing and serving.”
Okay, in what world do people actually wait that long?