My Fiction Writing Method: Wandering for Words
After reading what other authors have to say about their writing process, I’m ashamed to admit my bad habits. Some set word-count goals and force themselves to remain at their computers during specific times each day. But I follow an internal voice that tells me I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. It’s possible that I have authority issues, even with my own conscience. As evidenced by my current weight, self-discipline isn’t my strongpoint.
Nonetheless, while working on a chapter for my forthcoming novel, I decided to keep track of my writing methods. I likened this effort to maintaining a food journal (which, for me, might have been more beneficial). By looking back at my scrawled notes, I hoped to uncover both my good and bad writing practices.
Having ignored the urge to surf the Internet and check Facebook postings, I planted my butt in my work chair and got down to task. I needed to write another scene, a big one, to complete the final edits for my novel. No more procrastination. No more diversions. No more excuses.
Here’s a recap of what followed:
Nothing looks emptier than a blank page. To stop the agonizing pain, I type, “Chapter 8.”
I have no idea where I’m going with this story.
Pushing past my resistance, I crank out the opening sentence and pause for a self-congratulatory moment. Woo-hoo! Way to go, girl!
Before I know it, I’ve written several paragraphs.
But then the words float away into the ethers.
Still waiting for Divine Guidance to intervene.
I’m thirsty. I should get a drink. Maybe an idea will come to me somewhere between the office and kitchen.
At the fridge, the answer I’ve been waiting for arrives! I race back upstairs to my computer so I can write it down before I lose my train of thought.
Furiously, I churn out the next few sentences.
Once more, I’m stumped.
I rise from my chair and pace as I consider my next character move.
A car drives past my house, and I see it through my office window. Staring outside, I notice the front lawn looks parched. When is it EVER going to rain? Did I remember to reset the lawn sprinklers so the water police won’t fine me for watering on the wrong day? I should go check.
On my way back from the garage, I realize I have to pee. I’m inside the restroom, still concentrating on suitable character actions, when I glimpse the toilet paper holder. It’s nearly empty. I check the overhead cabinet. None in there.
Scenes continue playing out in my mind.
Didn’t I recently buy a jumbo pack of toilet paper? Maybe I stuck it in the pantry.
Finished with my business, I leave the throne and detour to the kitchen storage area. I have to restock the toilet paper. If I don’t, next time, I’ll be stranded.
I stand inside my walk-in pantry, lost, trying to recall what drove me there. Out of nowhere, I remember a word I couldn’t locate earlier. I repeat the word, over and over, hoping it won’t slip away before I write it down.
To my right, I spot not one, but three, multi-roll packs of toilet tissue. Omigod, am I becoming a hoarder?
Suddenly, I make a connection between hoarding and something in my storyline. That’s it! I know what should happen next! I trot back upstairs to my computer, holding two rolls of toilet paper.
At the keyboard, I realize I forgot to put away the tissue. However, I don’t dare return to the bathroom. I simply can’t afford to take that risk.