Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Sigh of Relief and Free-Writing

After doing a little bit of editing, I found that my tense shift issue was an isolated event in chapter two. I am really surprised that I didn't find this sooner, but I suppose it's bound to happen during the novel writing process. I am just thankful that it was limited to a single portion of a single chapter. I am not sure what caused me to attempt the tense shift in the first place.

With the holidays just around the corner and with so much to do in the house and no maid to speak of, I haven't been able to get any writing done, which is a huge disappointment to me. I am thankful for the few hours in the dark of night that I get to do a bit of editing work here and there, though I wish there were more. 

I think that tonight will be mostly about editing, unless I get some sort of crazy wild hair that brings something out of the depths of my brain...

Battling writer's block has always been an issue for me. I don't know if it's just that I am being outright lazy or if the characters aren't speaking to me at that time. When I feel a total block in front of me, I have found that it's easiest for me to do one of a few things; get myself excited somehow about the current portion I am writing, free-write until I get whatever writing jitters I have in my system, or try again at a later time. The important thing to remember when setting your work down for a later time: SET A TIME LIMIT. It's important that you don't leave it for too long or you risk the chance of either losing the thread of what you were doing or fall out of love with your story.

Speaking of free-writing, I wanted to talk a bit about it as it has some relation to writer's block. Wondering what free-writing is? Well, free-writing is when you set a time limit for yourself (a good start would be something like twenty minutes) and write ANYTHING. Yes, I said anything. Pay no attention to punctuation or spelling, just write. It could be anything; what you ate for breakfast, something that made you happy or upset, a vacation you took as a kid, what your favorite food smells like... ANYTHING. I have found that this is a great way to try and get the brain warmed up for writing or to get out all of those thoughts jumbling around in your head and causing the block in the first place. Usually all of my free-writing ends up at my other blog, which is why I warn people of its randomness in the first place. 

A time limit for free-writing shouldn't really be called a limit, but a minimum. By all means, keep going until you feel like you're done, but commit to at least that time minimum for writing. The nice thing about free-writing as an exercise is that you are practicing your writing and, like stretching before a jog, getting your mind ready to do what you are asking it to do.

What kinds of things do you do in order to battle writer's block, or to get your mind ready for writing? What are the causes of these blocks? I'll talk more about writer's block in another blog post, but for now why don't you go and try some free-writing yourself? Perhaps there's a story in your free-writing just waiting to be elaborated on. Have a good night, all!

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