Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Five: The Freedom to Roam


This week has been a busy one and it’s been hard to find actual writing time. Since I hate to be out of touch with my characters or my WIP for any length of time, when this happens I often find myself pondering scenes and plot twists and turns while doing other things. Here for my Friday Five are five things that busy my hands and free up my mind, allowing it to roam to distant times and places.

  1. Driving. I’ve heard this from a lot of my writer friends. Something about driving invariably finds us focusing on our works in process—when you consider how high the RWA membership is… that’ s a lot of distracted writers out there on the road!
  2. Hanging laundry. Sounds old fashioned, I know, but I’m a laundry-hanger from way back. I lost track of it for a few years, but a fight between my dryer and my bank account a year or so back (the dryer needed a new part; the bank account needed funds) had me stringing up clothesline. Aside from the fact that I simply enjoy the task of hanging laundry, I love the way my mind gets to wander while I’m doing it.
  3. Taking a shower. Maybe it’s the sound of the water rushing over my head, drowning out all the background noise that relaxes me, but this is another great way to really free up my muse. (Strangely, soaking in the bathtub doesn’t seem to work the same way. Instead, I end up focusing on how bad my tile needs scrubbing!)
  4. Washing dishes. This is not a task I do often. But on occasion things need to be washed by hand. Not sure what it is with water, but the feel of the warm water, the smell of soapy bubbles and the cool rinse water—my mind escapes from the usual day to day thoughts and heads for my characters.
  5. Sleeping. Not sound asleep, but that lovely twilight between not yet awake and no longer sleeping. For some reason this is the time when even the most confounding writers block can be resolved and that “backed in a corner” feeling gets turned around. I try not to do this while waiting to fall asleep, however. One too many times I have cost myself several hours of sleep when that “Eureka!” sensation hits and I’ve been unable to keep from jotting notes or rushing back to the computer.

What tasks throughout your day leaves your mind free to focus on writing?

6 comments:

Christine Koehler said...

My mind tends to wander both in the shower and on the road. Unfortunately, I usually have really great ideas in both circumstances, and have no way to write them down!

Nicole McCaffrey said...

LOL. Isn't that always the way??

Susan Macatee said...

Running the vacuum cleaner always does it for me.

I also get ideas while dusting, mopping and during my daily workout.

Paty Jager said...

Any time I'm doing a repetitive activity that requires no thought. Mopping the floor, staining the deck, raking hay, and vacuuming to name a few.

I hang all my laundry outside when the weather permits. It goes back to years with a very squealy dryer and no money for a new one! I got in the habit and like the smell of fresh air. But you won't catch me hanging it out in the winter! Brrr.

I don't get any writing related thoughts in the shower. Mostly because my dh and I shower together. We talk. It goes back to having four kids in a very small, old mobile home and walls as thin as paper. We'd take a shower together to discuss topics we didn't want the kids to hear. LOL Now it's just a habit. That and the dh doesn't want to clean the shower door! LOL

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Wow, two of you mention vacuuming! I'm surprised because it just never works that way for me. Never thought of that.

I wish I could hang my laundry outside, but there are too many trees--and as a result, birds!-- in my yard and not enough sun. I have clothesline in my basement and a retractable one in my family room--that's ever so attractive!!

That's part of the reason I hate unexpected company, LOL. I'm picky about who gets to see my undies hanging up to dry! *G*

Sarita Leone said...

On the treadmill. I wish I could figure out a way to jot notes while I'm walking, because I get some great (or so I like to tell myself!) ideas on the treadmill.

But vacuuming works for me, too. Or mowing the lawn. I write in my head while driving the tractor, when the only distraction I have are trees and flowerbeds. :)