Monday, June 29, 2009

Nothing into Something

I am at a loss.

I am staring at this blank page and all those marvelous ideas have gone out the window. You know the one's-- the witty little comments and observations that rattle through your head? Of course, once your deadline is here they are gone.

Normally, I jot an idea or two down. For some reason I have nothing.

So, I am going to write about nothing and how to find something.

There is something quite intimidating about the blank page, at least when you have only a glimmer of an idea and no actual idea of how to write it. Makes you want to go hide doesn't it?

This blankness reminds me largely about plotting, and working on the story. Everyone hits that wall where you have no earthly idea of what direction you are going in or how to take the next step. Usually, I go work out then. It can be something as simple as a walk, or I do something more intense like weight lifting, or an aerobic activity. As I let my mind wander and relax sometimes something will occur in and an idea will surface.

Driving helps too.

I also enjoy talking it out with someone. In actuality, I prefer working on someone else's plot. For some reason looking for a solution for someone else frees something in my head that usually leads to an idea. If I combine it with swimming or walking while talking it is even better!

It's funny, but writing is a lot like being superstitious, we all have our certain ways of doing things, rituals that we turn to when we are lost about where our story is or how to begin.

Just like this Blog, I had NO idea what I was going to write about...but here it is! Something from Nothing!

So, what rituals do you use to get ideas to form in your head and help your story?


Cari Hislop said...

I don't have any rituals...I have to wait until I accept that I'm subconiously ignoring the fact I've dropped an important piece of the puzzle on the floor. This morning I woke up and as I lay there I finally figured out why I couldn't write that next scene...because it wasn't the next scene. I saw the intermedian scene and suddenly everything started falling into place...why on earth didn't I see that before? I say that a lot! The really frustrating thing is I've been stuck on two seperate stories...but I believe they've just come unstuck! Enjoyed your post!

M.V.Freeman said...

Thank you Cari,
I love how you came up with that intermediate scene! You know, I think sometimes laying in bed helps are relaxed and suddenly there it is.

I agree, why can't our heads just come up with the scenes instead of letting us wander around aimlessly for awhile searching for it?...*sigh*

Hope your ideas keep on flowing!

Debra Glass said...

I watch movies or listen to music and hope that jogs my inner muse.

Angel said...

I definitely enjoy driving or working out. Plotting with friends, throwing around ideas about anybody and everybody's stories, really gets me thinking outside the box.


Caitlin Wildhagen said...

I carry around a notebook with me all the time, so when an idea comes I can jot it down really quickly!

For the specific times that I have no idea what I am going to write next, cooking helps. There is just something about working with food and smelling spices that really gets my mind in the right place.

If anyone has ever had the joy of taking a walk on Guntersville's walking trail, it's also equally inspiring for me. Anywhere where you can sit and watch the lake is great, really!

Also, Debra's right about the music! Why life doesn't already have background music, I will never know...

Karen Beeching said...

Like you, I didn't have a clue on my last blog and stared at the blank page until something popped into my head. I just go with it and hope I can do something with it later. Most often with writing (not blogging), that works for me.

Often if I hit a huge wall, I either have to redo the last chapter (heading in the wrong direction) or I leave it for a week and something comes to me.

I have that luxury still as an unpublished writer...

Peggy Webb said...

Great blog. Having a ritual junmp-starts my writing process. I brew a cup of tea which I drink with real cream and honey. The best part of the tea ceremony is selecting the mug from a colleciton of favorites - Elvis has Left the Building for writing my Southern Cousins Mystery Series, a Native American Spirit mug or Jimmy Dean mug for books that require a more contemplative mood, my Wizard of Oz mug for whimsical moments. Add a plate of Geraldine's Bodacious cheese straws and some great Native American flute, and the muse comes flying into my window, ready to rock 'n' roll. Rituals provide a signal to the brain that it's time to start writing. If you don't already have one, try it and see what happens. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

M.V.Freeman said...

I forgot all about music! What is your favorite? I find that my taste varies. Lately, I've fallen into listening to blues...yes, me. I'm a bit mystified as to how that happened!
As for movies...lets face it, for me the latest Star Trek was quite motivational. :)

M.V.Freeman said...

I agree friends are awesome to help get you out of a tight place when it comes to writing. I think you've rescued me a time or two when I started wandering down rabbit trails.... :)

M.V.Freeman said...

Hi Caitlin,
I like your idea about cooking! Does it matter as to what you are making? Sweet or savory? Mild or super spicy? Do you have a particular dish?

See, you've touched on a soft spot of mine--I love to cook. I don't get a chance often to run amok in the kitchen, so I live vicariously through others!

I think that's a great way to find solutions to your writing block!

M.V.Freeman said...

You know, walking away from it works as well. Especially if you are truly wrapped up into the story and you see no way out...for now.
Sometimes I meander on the page as well (like this blog happened!) and things just show up. I get pleasantly surprised...or not. I have a tendency to find rabbit trails. Do you struggle with that?

M.V.Freeman said...

Thank you Peggy for your gracious words!
Now you have a truly lovely ritual. I am a hot tea drinker, normally when I break out the milk and sugar I am trying to de-stress. But your idea, to signal your brain its time to write is wonderful!

I also like the idea of the flute music, do you change out the music to suit the story you are writing? --like you change your mugs to what kind of mood you are in to write?

Thanks again for sharing that, I really admire I am off to go make some tea. :-) (Have you ever tried a Rose tea? It's a black tea, you do drink with milk and sugar-its marvelous)

Kathy said...

Like Peggy, I believe in rituals. Maybe that's why I'm flopping lately. Note to self, brew tea and put on music.

Like Debra, I like to put on music while I write or watch movies for inspiration.

Great blog, Mary!! ;)

M.V.Freeman said...

Thank you Kathy,
We can find that tea for you! Maybe Port?
I am dragging feet as well, but no excuses, I have to get my act together.
Now its my turn to go brew some tea....

Sherry Werth said...

Nice blog Mary. I've had a lot of nothingness lately. LOL Maybe what I need is a ritual. I like Peggy's suggestion that a ritual signals the brain it's time to write. But I'm worried a nice cup of tea and soft music might not do it for me. I'll probably need something more stimulating like a shot of whiskey and an air horn to get me going. (Just kidding about the whiskey part) :D

BTW Caitlin, I love the walking trail at Guntersville Lake!

M.V.Freeman said...

Thanks Sherry!
I think we can arrange an air horn! Today would be good day for me to have it. :)

Maybe something stronger like coffee would help? I bet you have a ritual that you don't realize that you even go through.

Now you make me want to take a walk around Guntersville lake, I've never had a chance to go there. I sense a 'field trip' in my future!

Christine said...

Hey Mary: Well I find washing my hair, taking a shower, for some reason sets the imagination free. As does laundry. Maybe cleaning real sh**makes my mind clear enough to solve the problem?

Any rate, I'm lucky if I get my bath in these days. Busy times!

Christine said...

Hey Mary: Well I find washing my hair, taking a shower, for some reason sets the imagination free. As does laundry. Maybe cleaning real sh**makes my mind clear enough to solve the problem?

Any rate, I'm lucky if I get my bath in these days. Busy times!

M.V.Freeman said...

Hey Christine!
I've heard of showers helping, or baths ...that is a hit or miss for me, but I wish it would work. *sigh*
Hang in there, I know you are working hard on the pitch...remember to breathe. :-)