Sunday, February 26, 2012

Coming at the writing sideways

I went to the gym this morning and had a good huff-'n-puff on the treadmill. I didn't have much time as I'd arranged an unusually busy Sunday morning. I'd written first thing as usual on my novel, nearly an hour as I'd gotten up at 6 and sat right down. I was at the end of a chapter, actually coming to the end of a section, and it wasn't flowing very easily but I hung in there. Then I journaled and went to the gym and did a fast, hard workout.

On the way home from the gym, I was in that easy place. Proud of myself for going to work out, for pushing hard, feeling the effect of the en-dolphins (as we call them in my family) and suddenly I knew what the next chapter was and I also knew where the section went in the overall story. I hadn't been thinking about the book (although sometimes I do on the treadmill). The ideas just came in that relaxed state of mind, driving along.

Coming at the writing sideways is something I do more and more often, and I think it's a powerful effect of writing every day. That I leave my mind open for problems to solve themselves, or rather for my unconscious to do what it needs without me being impatient about it.

Brenda Ueland, author of one of the first and still a great book on writing, advised taking a 5-mile walk every day as the most helpful thing one could do for one's writing. While I don't follow that advice, I can see more and more what it is for.

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