So you’re a writer. Or you try to be, anyway. With kids and doctor appointments and work and school and your spouse’s psychological mommy-issues, you’re lucky if you can manage to write one paragraph in any given day.
But suppose one day the heavens opened up, the school’s not calling you to pick your kids up, it’s slow at work, and it’s just you and your pen and your paper.
NOW you can write!
But the clock is ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock.
Your pen touches the paper and… You’re stuck! You’re so ecstatic by the calm in the storm that you don’t know what to write.
The last time you visited your book-to-be, you had your protagonist dangling off the edge of a cliff by his teeth. His wife was in one hand, his X-Box console in the other. Whom does he sacrifice? Whom will he save! What’s going to happen!!!
Ding! “Time’s up,” says Alex Trebek in the form of your boss checking in on you or a customer demanding your attention (or your spouse texting you with another problem about how his parents didn’t support him enough when he wanted to be an American All-Star).
Those glorious minutes you had all to yourself vanish like a mist as though they were never there, and your paper is still an empty canvas.
Take my advice. Think ahead. Prepare for those brief moments. One of my favorite times of the day is when I get to shower. That’s when I disappear mentally into my book. I analyze what I’ve already written, I dissect my characters, but most of all, I plan ahead.
He’s hanging there by his teeth, I think. He’s got his wife and his X-Box. His wife nags him, but his X-Box brings him unlimited, albeit meaningless joy. But his wife gives him kids. Does he even like his kids? But his X-Box makes him late to work, which he hates. … Hmmm… nagging wife, meaningless video games, kids that annoy him (and quite frankly isn’t even sure are his), a terrible job… THAT’S IT! He opens his mouth and screams!! Now they’re all dead!
Then I refine and refine that scene and by the time I get those glorious undisturbed moments back five new-moons later, I don’t have to worry about that time being wasted because I already know what the next scene is going to be about and how to resolve it.
It’s kind of like, I hate that I can’t take my phone into the shower with me and watch Netflix, but at least I can play my own movie in my mind while I wash up.
So there it is. Take advantage of yourself in the shower, and you’ll be surprised what goodies you’ll pop out!