Tag Archives: ideas

Can’t sleep-creative insomnia

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2:45 am Tuesday and I’m wide awake. A storm is heading my way promising 18 inches of snow. Everyone in the house is sleeping and my brain is on overdrive, no I haven’t had any coffee…yet. I think the few brain cells I have left would melt if I did.

My current book Tombyards & Butterflies is doing  fantastic in its first week of release, but that’s not what’s keeping me up. The second book is nagging the hell out of me. If you are creative you know exactly what I’m talking about. The idea that wont be quiet. The plot point that just wont stop. The character that whispers into your ears when you are driving, showering, doing the dishes or any other activity where a pen and paper( or phone) is out of reach, forcing you to stop and hurriedly get that idea down. And you do, because like a wisp of smoke, if you dont it vanishes and taunts you, remaining just at the fringe of conscious thought.

So I’m up and I haven’t blogged in a while because this latest book has demanded I write-hard and fast. It pushes me to write to the exclusion of everything else and so the blog, like a secret mistress, gets my visits in the dead of night when I can’t sleep. But the story,implacable, unrelenting, is there looking over my shoulder, pacing and tapping it’s foot. It gives me the stink eye and then floods my brain with ideas as if to say,”try writing that post now.”

I manage because I enjoy my blog and writing. My brain is always writing, always dealing with the alchemy of words, spoken and written. A part of me seriously believes that all creatives are slightly mad and unhinged-it’s what drives us and fuels our creative expressions. I can only speak to my experience. Writing a book is mad work. You sit down and have a conversation with the voices-in your head. You weave a story around that conversation and then invite others to jump into a world with you. Sure… totally sane.

Taking a blank page, canvas, or pick your medium, and transforming it into a book, a painting, a piece of music, a piece of you, is the ultimate form of creation. To bring forth something from nothing is the both the most empowering and frightening thing you can do and you must do it. To refuse the impulse is  an act of abnegation and the fastest way to insanity.

In an effort to stave off my impending madness I am going to go wrestle with a story that just wont quit. I’ll see you on the other side.

Guerrilla Writing-Stealing the time to write

capture tool
capture tool

I wrote the following post in 2012:

I usually write in a starbux.

In fact my first book (The Spiritual Warriors  was almost entirely written in the starbux my neighborhood. What I have realized with my insane schedule is that its not ideal to have only ONE place to write. for starters it sets me up to skip writing on those days when I dont “FEEL” like writing (another subject altogether). It gives me an out if I cant get to starbux to write. So I have decided to embark on a different writing journey for my second book which is now almost two thirds done. I call it guerrilla writing, which I’m sure is not a new nor solely mine.

Basically what it means is that I will begin to steal snatches of time and write wherever possible. The fact that I write longhand makes this ideal, but I’m certain if you have a laptop it can work as well. It means not buying into the whole ” I must write ten pages today or I have failed!” mentality and write snippets. A paragraph, two sentences even a very awesome word furthers your writing along by that much more.

I suggest this to all writers out there. This is not to say that your method doesn’t work. We all write differently, I am suggesting taking this up to see if it can make you freer about your writing, something like the difference between writing being a monolithic and ponderous THING that must be carried out in a set way and writing becoming mobile, nimble and free, happening wherever you may be. I will let you know how my own journey goes.

Fast forward three years and I no longer write longhand, even though I still think it’s a great way to write. However forcing anyone to edit my handwriting is a crime punishable by flogging.  Now I walk around with a moleskine in my back-pocket everywhere I go to capture the story ideas that occur at the most inopportune moments. I have realized three years and  six stories later that Guerrilla Writing is not a new or unique  approach to writing. Every writer does it to some degree, some more effectively than others.

I was discussing this with some friends and family recently. They asked me when did i have time to write. I gave it some thought and came to this realization: I never have time to write. I have however become very good at stealing time from my days.

You have all heard it before. Writing is difficult. Writing is a long haul, its a marathon not a sprint. This is all true. There are days when you will question your sanity (what little you have remaining). There is a way around this. It doesn’t make it easier and it doesn’t shorten the time, but it gives the illusion of being easier and faster. This works especially well for those who believe in writers block. I don’t particularly, but that’s a topic for another post.

The method i suggest is what I all guerilla writing and much like guerrilla warfare where a small group of fighters take on a larger group using irregular tactics and strategies like hit and runs, ambushes and mobility. You can approach your writing the same way. Instead of trying to block out several hours to write, sit down and write for ten minutes and only ten minutes. Carry a notebook with you and jot down ideas or parts of your story like a hit and run. Carrying the notebook (or any other idea capturing device) is an example of mobility.

Many of the times when we say we don’t have time to write it is because we have made writing  something exotic and special. Rid yourself of that notion. Make it plain. Make it everyday. Make it your new normal. When you do this you will find that it frees up your writing and the ideas generated. I especially suggest the small notebook. Before carrying one I was that deranged writer looking for a pen and a napkin to write my next great idea on.  Now I swear by my moleskine notebook because they are impervious to almost anything and are stylish in the process. Plus when I’m writing in mine it feels almost scholarly and reminds me of my days in grade school.

We are all given the same 24 hours in a day. What you do with them makes all the difference.blogdragonfly