The process

Most of my writing ideas come in the wee hours. I typically get out of bed between 5 and 5:15 in the morning. Put on the coffee and something usually comes to me. A phrase, an image, a sentence. I’m quick to jot it down because, even if it makes no sense, there’s a feeling behind it. A color, a conversation, a character’s voice, a small piece of the writing puzzle. My stuff tends to be filled with colors and textures, so I pay attention to the shadows and what’s beneath them. Maybe that’s why I gravitated towards photography, the play of light and shadow. And, of course, color.

The next best time for “inspiration” (and I hesitate to call it that, because I’m actively seeking ideas, not waiting for it to show up at the door) is when I’m driving to work. It’s an easy drive, even around the twisty curves down the mountain, and it takes about half an hour. That’s when I find interesting plot twists. Usually “what if” ideas. I watch the road and ideas come in. For instance, I finally found my ending to Ordinary Handsome on such a drive. I had four or five different ideas of how to end it, and then it came to me. Totally unexpected. I love those moments, when the big “Whoa!” shows up. And there it was. I wanted to turn around and come back home to write it all down. But, you know… the job, the paycheck, the boss. So I sat on it for almost 10 hours, writing notes to myself when I had a spare minute. But mostly just letting it build, tilling it up.

Usually I’m not a daytime writer. Can’t get things to gel. I write best in the dark, when the sun’s gone to bed, or just starting crawl back into the sky. And anyway, the photo-taking works best in the daylight. So that works out.

croniccover4OrdinaryHandsomeII

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11 thoughts on “The process

  1. I like this for the emphasis upon both contemplation and actively working ideas. The skill-set of a writer is many faceted from drinking in bars, problem solving to silently observing people, through rhetoric to magic tricks of poetry. Cheers

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  2. I can relate to “the drive to work” idea factory. I had a 1 hour plus drive each way and kept a note pad to jot things down at stop signs. My first novel was put together that way. Since retirement the mornings are my work time. Before the Child Bride gets up and moving to send me off to other tasks. I have given her my writing time this summer to do many necessary home improvement projects and the next book will be started after rooms get painted and hardwood floors get laid down. A writer’s vacation.

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  3. Yes! I write poems and complete stories in my head as I walk into town to carry out my errands… Desperately trying to keep the words in my head until I can get home to open the MacBook! Sometimes I get to a shop so no idea or Emory of how I got there. It’s a wonder I don’t get run over by traffic most days!

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  4. Yes! I write poems and complete stories in my head as I walk into town to carry out my errands… Desperately trying to keep the words in my head until I can get home to open the MacBook! Sometimes I get to a shop with no idea or memory of how I got there. It’s a wonder I don’t get run over by traffic most days!

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    1. lol… I know what you mean. Some days I’m surprised I get any work done. I scribble down notes in my terrible handwriting and sometimes wonder what the hell I wrote. I wonder if writers are more prone to stupid accidents? 🙂

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      1. Oh god! I wake to notes I wrote late at night and have no clue what I was rambling on about!
        Yes I think we do have more accidents… we are always away in our heads. Hubs says I live in my own private bubble! It’s great there!

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  5. I get my best ideas in the shower. Plus – I’m awake enough for them to be semi-coherent. Minus –
    by the time I get to paper, pen and glasses some of the really good details get lost, not to reappear until an equally inconvenient time. (Never when I’m at a computer.)

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  6. I have a notebook for any little idea that comes along. Problem is, I rarely carry the notebook. I had a particular sentence going through my head while I was mowing the lawn today, and by the time I had a chance to write it down, it was a jumble. I never did get it back. But the lawn looks good. I think ideas are like lightning bugs… you have to grab them when you see them. But how often does that happen?

    Maybe you need to find some waterproof paper, if there is such a thing. 🙂

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