Monday, January 23, 2012

Pre-Writing: A Cure for Both Writer’s Block and Limited Time to Write

By now you know one of my favorite online haunts is AQC Connect.  One of my favorite forums at AQC is the Speculative Fiction Forum.  The Forum's Moderator is Clippership.  Clip, as we call her, runs a great ship, and this months blogging guests was her brain child.  We are all blog hopping and doing posts for each other's blogs.  We have a new spec fic member badge for our blogs as well.  Yes, that too is her design.  She unveiled it earlier this month.  So I have it on display, but wanted to give Joyce due credit here on my blog for her blog badge.

I've had several bloggers from AQC here this last week, and hope to talk a few more in to making guest appearances.  I've also done several guest posts for other members as well.  It has been fun. 
I am so happy to have Joyce here on my blog, she is so busy I've hesitated in asking her over, but the blog swap month made it easy. (and it was her idea as well!)  She and I have talked about what she should write about, and I knew she would deliver the goods, and she has.  So here is Joyce Alton's post about Pre-Writing:
Pre-Writing: A Cure for Both Writer’s Block and Limited Time to Write

Dean knows I’ve been struggling for a couple of weeks now to come up with a worthwhile post for his blog. He’s had so many great time saving posts of his own, in addition to all the other great guest bloggers who’ve shared their thoughts and tips here. I didn’t want to sound like an echo.

So…what is pre-writing? I’m sure some of you know the term. All of us have put it into practice even if we didn’t know the term. I think pre-writing gets ignored or taken for granted a lot. Most often we only count the time we actually spend in front of our computers typing away as actual writing work. Guess what, you can drop that misconception right now. (Cue stadium cheering.)

Most of us don’t have the luxury of writing for hours and hours every day. That makes us normal and rather than seek to be pitied or view ourselves as self-sacrificing heroes (I’m guilty of that too) we shouldn’t dwell so much on the number of hours or words we’ve chalked up as our only progress. Ever struggled with that state of mind known affectionately as writer’s block? We sit down, we feel the urge to write, we have deadlines or goals to meet but…the…words…just…won’t…come. Agh!

The key is to pre-write. You can do it at anytime, anywhere, even while doing other things. Keep your mind open to those subtle bits of inspiration and trust me, they’ll come. Sure we need to focus on other priorities too. I’m not saying you should jeopardize your job, school, family, or (insert other major occupation) for daydreaming and plotting. Pre-writing is work. Immeasurable of course, in terms of word count or hours, yet most valuable in regards to what you do when you finally sit down to actually write.

Plan out conversations, play out situations and choices, rework your plotlines first in your mind before trying to write them. It eliminates writer’s block. Some people like to keep a notebook or other (insert small writing tool or device of choice) in order to remember flashes of inspiration. That’s a fantastic idea. Sometimes we don’t have time for that. It’s alright. If the idea’s solid, you’ll remember it again by tracing back your train of thought and the triggers that ignited the inspiration to begin with. If you’ve already thought through what you want or need to write, then you have no reason to sit and stare blankly at your computer screen when the precious writing time comes.

I know it’s frustrating when I have lapses of time when I’m not able to sit and write at all. Life happens. Pre-writing helps me keep my sanity. As long as I keep working through the stories in my head, I’m still technically working on them. (It saves some revision time too in the long run.)  I can truthfully say to anyone who asks, on any given day, that I’ve spent hours working on my WIP. You can too. I’ve enacted battles in my head while folding laundry. I’ve had an engaging bits of banter teasing my brain while I drive. I’ve “written” entire first drafts at night while I’m lying in bed struggling to get those vital hours of sleep before a busy day.

My one caveat to pre-writing is that you don’t get so caught up in it that you never sit down to really write it all out. Pre-writing is easy, enticingly easy. Remember it’s the actual act of writing that gets the job finished. Pre-write when you don’t have time and write when you do. Both are necessary parts of the writing process. 

Thanks Joyce for some great advice.  I have done a lot of prewritting, it makes it so easy to sit down and write, because it has been on my mind for so long I just got to get it on "paper".  Great post and great points.

Joyce has lots of other great tidbits like this on her blog Yesternight's Voyage.  She can also be found on twitter @JoyceAlton.  so follow her blog and follow her on twitter as well.  (But stop back here for more tips on time management and suggestions to stay motivated.)


Joyce Alton / @joycealton said...

Thanks, Dean, for the opportunity. =)
I should clarify that the blog badge was not all my doing. I came up with the design but the actual art was done by Nicolle Raty, the same artist who did the cool picture of the moons and ship that I use for my blog header.

Dean C. Rich said...

Well, I'll give you credit for commissioning the badge. Thank Nicolle for the cool art work.