I haven't written a single word of a story since...oh probably Sunday night. The reason? I haven't had time (and that's really not just a lame excuse this time...it's the truth). I mean, I would have time if I didn't sleep or if I decided all this exercise stuff I've been doing is for losers. But I've worked two (or three) jobs every day this week so far, and honestly, sleep has been way more important than writing. The rest of the week doesn't look much more promising. I've got a LOT to do in the next three days, and I'm not sure when I'll have time to do it all. So writing? I might get to that...eventually.
But I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Just because I haven't been writing anything down on paper (or typing anything up on the computer screen) doesn't mean I haven't been writing at all.
There is a sort of magic that sometimes happens (and sometimes just...doesn't...) when a writer starts writing down things on paper. Sometimes the words just flow out of the pen and create something wonderful, something the writer couldn't write until he/she sat down to start writing. Sometimes I, personally, just need to feel a pen sliding across a piece of paper, or I need to feel the rhythm of my fingers clicking across a keyboard. Sometimes I can't create until I get that physical connection of pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.
Then there are the other times, the times I've experienced this week--the times when a writer doesn't need paper. I'mma call it...mind writing. I find that one of my favorite places to mind write is in the shower. I guess that's weird, but...whatever works, right? I stand there, washing my hair, and a scene or character comes to me. It's usually from whatever project I'm working on, and it's usually involving dialogue. So I stand in the shower and talk to myself until I've figured out the scene or until the water gets cold--whichever comes first.
I also like to mind write while I'm running (or whatever form of exercise I happen to be doing). I can't have conversations with myself without looking like a loony to other people on the road, so I have to internalize whatever I'm mind writing. I'm not good at internalizing. Lately, while running, I've been mind writing about characters who run, because I'm just THAT creative... ... ... ...
Mind writing in those few moments between turning out the light and going to sleep can be either incredibly helpful or incredibly dangerous. It can be dangerous because I tend to forget things easily, especially when I'm tired. So there's a good chance that anything I thought of before I go to sleep will be forgotten forever (maybe that's a good thing...?). But mind writing before sleep can also be awesome if I'm lucky enough to be able to DREAM about what I was mind writing. Every book I've completed so far has been, in some way, inspired by a dream. In the case of my first book, it wouldn't exist if not for a dream (and a really ugly ring). In my second book, I had an idea for a story, but it wasn't tied together until I had a dream that I thought would be a great scene in the book. So yeah, I'm a really big fan of dreams. I like to use them in my writing. Sometimes I'll take naps just because I have some of my best dreams in the middle of the day. I mean, I might not dream at all, but it's worth a shot. ...and I get a nap... Win-win.
These are some of the times/places I usually mind-write, but they aren't the only ones. Mind writing can happen just about anywhere. Grocery shopping. Driving a car (scary, right?). Eating breakfast. Sitting in church (...don't judge me, Christians!). Yeah. Just about anywhere.
So if you happen to see me this week and I have a vacant expression, it might just be that I'm mind writing because I have no time for real writing. If this is the case, proceed with caution and make no sudden movements.