I have a terrible inability to keep my hands from moving. If I am not writing it is most likely because I had to rest my eyes and/or mind. This is not a guarantee that my hands are not moving, however. When I am not writing I am doing something else that requires the use of my hand and less of my thoughts. I am a mother of two boys and the wife of a man who is really just a goofy kid in a man’s body. There is plenty to do that allows me to zone out and work in robo-mode; like folding laundry or washing dishes.
If I’m upset with my writing, some part of a story or (what happens more than I want to admit) frustrated because I put time into writing a post only to decide it was too long and deleted it, I turn to cleaning. I hate to clean. It reminds me of my mother. I’m also not a fan of spending time and energy cleaning just to have someone come and muck it up carelessly. It feels like when you create something that makes you beam with pride and the first person to see it doesn’t look at all impressed. But when I clean, my mind goes blank and I am active in reducing that frustration before I decide to cut everything and completely regret it the next day. Two other positives from this practice is that my house gets cleaned and I also push my left body to be more physical than I had planned which is always good.
When I break because the story just isn’t in me that day, I tend to find other projects that promote some level of creativity. For instance, I’m trying to figure out a reasonably easy way to paint the Minecraft pattern. I have a wooden coat rack I bought for a dollar at a flea market style place (they don’t call them flea markets where I live). I have intentions to turn the rack so it hangs long ways with the hooks positioned to hold hats and belts (if I ever do it and it’s well enough I’ll post a picture when it’s finished). Skas would love it….if I could just figure out an easy way to paint that pattern with one hand. It would be a perfect side project for me.
If I’m not writing because I’m not able due to time or some other minor constraint, I cook or work on my left side. I don’t workout to strengthen my left body even though I really should. I hate working out because it reminds me of my physical limitations. It’s all so stupid because that is precisely the point of working out– to push yourself beyond those limitations. I’m a walking (ahem, limping) conundrum. To keep from becoming weaker on that side I find things to do that forces me to use my left leg like reorganizing a set of book shelves without using a chair (a lot of lifting and squatting).
There are times when I need to pull away from writing because I get stuck in what I call the “Soap Opera Tunnel.” It doesn’t matter what the context of the story is, there’s a point you reach where you’re letting the story write itself and that’s not always bad– as long you’re still paying attention. If you’re not paying attention, details you plotted don’t fit, the structure makes no sense and the characters are acting…well, out of character. I imagine this happens to a lot of writers. I know it happens to me because I ramble a lot and lose track but I’ve read books (especially the free ones on Amazon) where I could tell the author lost focus and didn’t bother to find it again. It’s embarrassing. That’s why I like to blog, just ramble on, no one knows me, who cares! My blog helps me get out the extra, useless words that I don’t want to use. It helps me write when I’m not feeling very creative but want to write something.
To avoid this happening in one of my stories, however, I will pull away and lie down on the couch in silence. I close my eyes and I try to see if I can connect what I wrote with the plot I keep in mind. If I cannot do that before I doze off and nap, I will go back and delete what doesn’t fit after spending the next few days contemplating the story so far and considering other possible options that still fit the overall “moral” of the story. If I can have it all make sense, I still nap because who doesn’t need a good nap?!