Sometimes I just don’t know.
There are many times when I sit down to write this blog, and I have NO IDEA what I’m going to write about. Yes, if you’ve followed for some time, you know I keep a list of topics at hand. Those are in case of emergency and so far, I’ve used some of those topics, but not because I consciously looked at the list and chose what to use off the list.
For example, this topic tonight. As soon as I wrote the title, I put on some music, and started typing. I happened to look at the list and…hey! I’ve been meaning to talk about this. I probably have talked about this before, but I’m confident I’ll be talking about this topic in a different manner tonight.
About a month ago, 4 of the many comics I read all had a similar topic. Artists doesn’t know what to draw, and draws a comic about not knowing what to draw. This isn’t an uncommon theme. I’ve seen many comics use it over the years. Yes, for those that want to keep track, I’m subscribed to dozens of web comics. I rarely read the newspaper funnies any more because…well, they’re not funny.
At any rate, what those artists demonstrate is that you don’t have to have a brilliant idea to do something. All you need is a vague idea and roll with it. The biggest thing to overcome is inertia. Sitting at the keyboard and typing. Giving yourself permission to type anything no matter how bad or inane it may be. The biggest challenge is getting started.
Once, I wanted to write something, but didn’t have a clue what. I was in the middle of the year I tried to write a short story every day (and failed by only writing about 100 short stories and getting 10 of those published). I didn’t waffle. I didn’t complain. I literally started writing words. And tried to think of another word that went with the first word. I played a word association game with myself. Just a long list of words.
After a few minutes of typing words that didn’t seem to go together much at all, something caught my eye and an idea popped into my head. I started writing and I was off to the races. I can’t tell you what that story was, but I wrote it. All it took was sitting, typing out words, and letting the idea fall into my head.
That’s almost what I did tonight. I sat down at the computer, wasn’t sure what to write about, and realized, this is common with artists. Some can sit and go for it. Others need to wait for the muse to inspire them. There is a distinct separation there. Those that do, and those that wait.
Let me give you another example. Last night, my co-author (Mike, not Might) got his next chapter of Jack Kane to me (or was it the day before). At any rate, I knew I was going to write in JK3. I knew it was going to be a new viewpoint that had never happened before in the books. I procrastinated, listened to some music, and didn’t put my hands on the keyboard right away. I had a vague idea what would happen in that chapter, but words weren’t coming.
So, I typed the first sentence. /Jack had been lost in his drawings for the better part of an hour./ I had to go back into the previous chapter to figure out where that’d come from and, sure enough, I’d already set this scene up. Because I’d been in GRPC3 the evening before, my headspace wasn’t in JK3. I did a little reading of the previous chapter, read Mike’s chapter (again), and BAM! Wrote a 1500 word chapter with the new POV.
It was refreshing to do that. I hadn’t written this character’s POV before and now I’ve breathed life into her. It took me about an hour to write her chapter and I’m even more excited for her turn to come around again so I can write more from her viewpoint. It’s going to add a whole new layer to the Jack Kane books. I will most likely do two Jack Kane chapters to one Betsy chapter (he is the titular character after all).
If you haven’t noticed by all this above, I consider myself a pantser. I like to write into the dark. However you want to term it, sitting and letting my creative brain do all the work allows me the freedom of not stressing out about what I’m going to write. That’s what works for me and has for a majority of my writing journey.
I’m off to go make more words happen.
Until Next Time!