Spurts and Space

Yesterday a lot of you mentioned in the comments your habits when it came to writing, especially for writing those difficult scenes.

Sometimes you just need to walk away, many of you said. Let it get cold. Get it off of your mind. Go watch some Korean dramas for crying out loud. (Thanks a lot Gloria, for my new found addiction to Liar Game). Sometimes the writing needs some space.

But don’t you also find that occasionally when the writing spurts it really spurts and it’s like nothing can stop you now. NaNoWriMo could come and pass and you’d still be tapping those fingers away at the keyboard.

I think everything in life has it’s pulse. And just like our own pulses we can have some effect on whether that pulse goes fast or slow—or stops completely.

Sometimes you do need a break. Even if you have deadlines or goals to be met, a break can still do you good. I often go for a walk, or as previously mentioned, watch a Korean drama, or play a mindless game, just to get out of my story head for a minute and breathe.

But when I’m spurting, I tend to let the spurt continue on. For me I tend to jam on through until I encounter a problem that slows me down, makes me rest, makes me think. Sometimes I feel like a bad writer in these situations, but lately I’ve reminded myself much like the heart beat, there needs to be those moments where the pulse goes down again before it comes back up. There has to be those pauses.

For us they may be long pauses or very short ones. For us they may be long spurts or short spurts. After all, a healthy heart gets subjected to more rapid beats for a short period of time.

BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN THOSE SPURTS NEVER SEEM TO COME?

While it’s important to take a break, it’s important not to stay away too long. For me sometimes the break doesn’t come from no writing, but writing something else. I’ve found a lot of refreshment from going to a completely different genre and letting my writing brain have at it. It could be another novel or a short story, but even if it goes nowhere I think that can be equally as important in “resting” as taking time to get away from writing completely.

I also think reading is another way to refresh the mind. One of my favorite Ray Bradbury quotes essentially says that. It says we’ll never run out of ideas if we’re always stocking the fire with fresh ones.

“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels,  films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every  morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life,  mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake  early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping  beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.” -Ray Bradbury

So you’ve shared with me how you take a break from problems? But what things do you do to recharge in general? What about getting inspiration or gaining the motivation to “spurt” your writing? How do you keep your mind fresh and writer’s block far from you?

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11 thoughts on “Spurts and Space

  1. I suppose I keep inspiration flowing by reading as often as possible, and not just novels. I read short stories and poems from the community, debate things and bounce ideas around. I also like to try new genres, just to see what I can do. It’s hard when I’m in full swing, especially with the ‘day job’ and two teenagers in the house, so I let the scenes play out in my head and always take a note-book with me (in case I get to catch 5 minutes!).

  2. I watch funny YouTube videos (Zero Punctuation, Honest Trailers) between chapters to recharge for the next part. Between books, I take maybe a week off to do some outlining, read, toss in a DVD, or just bum around. My mind doesn’t really stray far from the ideas. Though it might decide to run to another one when I need it to focus. It’s current obsession is the final battle of my series even though I still have books 9-15 to write. Maybe it’s worried about foreshadowing or something.

    This post reminds me of a point where I couldn’t write for a year. There was so much going on that I could barely get to my notebooks or writing files. It caused an odd blockage, but I can’t really explain it. Maybe it’s the one time I’ve had writer’s block and don’t realize it, but there were still ideas. I simply couldn’t pursue them and it made me really grumpy. At one point I woke up and was scared that I couldn’t write any more. Anyway, this is one reason authors, especially prolific ones, should always keep a notebook around or gouge out a little time each week to write stuff down. Bathroom breaks and lunch breaks are very useful.

    • I attended a writers conference forum once where this guy had a technique for improving your writing with little exercises. I posted the notes somewhere, but your comment made me think, I need to do that again, if only once a week.

  3. I find myself at my most creative when time doesn’t allow for writing (summer, winter holidays, catching up on edits, and so on). So, I guess it’s all about taking breaks for me to feel creative/inspired. Also, I don’t get writer’s block. I get something worse. I have basically emotional moments that result in depression and that leads to inability to work. Writing can be very emotionally taxing and quite a long road. There are bound to be bumps. I take my time to resolve my feelings that led me to that point and try to have a little bit of fun as I do that. I usually come back to my work pretty refreshed.

    • Hmmm, I hadn’t thought about how emotionally taxing writing can be, just that I know after awhile I’m exhausted and can write no further. Good thing to consider. It’s probably happening without me realizing what it was.

      Don’t all the best ideas come when you have the least amount of time to write them? 😉

  4. Good point in that a break from all writing can become a semi-permanent state. I think I might embrace NaNo for the first time this year as a catalyst to get motoring again. I’m not sure everyone’s like Ray Bradbury.

  5. Holy crapola, this is exactly what I do. I write, write, write with lots of enthusiasm and BOOM. I need space from writing. Or, like you said, from the specific mindset of that story’s character.
    I LOVE the pulse analogy. I am SO going to use this!!! 😀

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