Tangents Contained

Okay so I’ve been behind on my blog reading (and blogging for that matter) this week, so I’m just now getting around to checking out Michael Stelzner’s Top 10 Blogs for Writers-2008.  I visited all ten winners this morning and wound up subscribing to 5 fo the 10 (being already subscribed to Men With Pens).  These are some really kick ass writing blogs y’all!  LOTS of informative posts and useful information.  I’m still working my way through the content (Bloglines automatically loads the last 10 posts when you subscribe to a new feed), but I was really struck by a guest post by Dave Navarro on Write to Done about how to “keep your muse on speedial”.

Tip #1 – Keep A Tangent Journal As You Write

I absolutely love this idea.  I constantly have random ideas that I can’t pursue in the process of working on my current project–or else I’ll lose momentum on that project.  But having a specific notebook or journal or file in which I can dump the bare bones of that idea or tangent so I can come back to it later is a fabulous way to keep from losing a good idea.

Tip #2 – Write, Then Brainstorm

The idea here is to maintain momentum.  Finish your words for the day and spend a little time hashing out what’s coming next, what you’ll work on tomorrow.  This could be part of that whole process of staging yourself for the next day.  Heather Sellers in Chapter After Chapter called it something else, that whole routine that writers follow to get themselves prepared for writing the next day.  That feeds in to Tip #4

Tip #3 – Find Someone To Give You A Jump-Start

Navarro suggests looking to a favorite author for this one, but for me, this is almost always my crit partner.  When I am completely stuck and unable to move or figure out why, she is always there to help me dynamite the block away, usually with fabulously inspired suggestions or fully written snips of scenes that help me get back into my characters’ heads.

Tip #4 – Condition Yourself For Creativity

This is straight behaviorism.  It’s part of that butt in chair routine, things that set the stage and get your brain juices percolating.  Just like my dogs are conditioned that when the alarm goes off at 5:15 every morning it’s time to get ready for walkies (and God help us if we forget to turn the clock off on weekends), you can set up some kind of schedule, routine, or ritual that helps get you in the Zone.

Tip #5 – Show Up On Time, Every Time

Again, butt in chair.  Or on your feet, as one famous author I read about somewhere this morning allegedly did or does.  Make writing a priority.  Consistently writing, trying, learning is how you improve yourself a a writer.

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