So life has gotten a wee bit hectic around the Winter household. I really don’t want to think about this becoming the new Normal, because if I look back, life has been a constant state of “rolling with the punches” for the past, oh, 20 months. A lot of it has been good, but even good stress can still raise its scary scaled head. Is this the new Normal? Yikes.
All of which is to say that I managed to finish that story written ala “Writing into the Dark” style, and instead of being a 4,000-6,000 word short story, it ended up becoming a monster 17,000+ word novella. Technically that’s still a “short story” to some, but it is a length way beyond what I’ve been usually writing of late (which is probably kind of funny coming from a novelist).
After that mini juggernaut, my Muse said she was taking a break. I hadn’t tasked her with that constant of attention (and wordage) since Nanowrimo, so the girl deserved some time off.
But it’s been over two weeks and I’m feeling the itch* to get back into writing (it’s not the same as book formatting, which I’ve been focusing on), but my time and energy are limited (see the first paragraph).
How do you write when you want to but you don’t have the energy?
- Pick up a notebook and write the first sentence. Seriously, write a single sentence. It doesn’t matter what it is or what it says. Just start.
- Start an email to a fictional friend. This could be a literary character, your Invisible Friend from childhood, or a character you make up.
- Write a diary entry. Bonus points if it’s from a point of view not your own.
- Jot down all the reasons you don’t have the energy to write. Then laugh at yourself for having written.
- Take your shopping list and add descriptions to the items. Bonus points if they get particularly effusive and purple.
- Create a list of five favorite books, movies, and TV shows. Pick two. Combine those two in your mind. Now write the first sentence.
- Start with a dead body. Literally. Introduce a dead body in your first sentence. Then see what happens from there.
The best way I’ve found to start writing, regardless of time/energy constraints, is to sit down with a notebook and a pen, put the pen tip on the paper and see what happens. This works for those times you are waiting in line, experiencing quiet moments at the office, on lunch breaks, sitting in a car, riding the bus, boiling water — anytime you’re in life’s margins.
How do you create when the interest is there but the energy isn’t? Do you create, or do you take a time out?
*If I’m feeling the itch, it means Muse is making her way back. And I do NOT want to piss her off, so I’d better start writing right now. <note to self>