Some of the ups, downs, and middles of writing

Wouldn’t it be nice if one of these rings actually existed? 

I love these writer’s life posters and motivational swag that turns up on my social media feeds. If I had a separate writing den, I’d be printing them off and sticking them up on the wall behind the door — and on the door — to cheer me during down / grumpy / bitchy moods. 

Certainly true. Except that sometimes the Internet is a great resource — it’s a library that is accessible from anywhere that has wifi or available digits on the data plan. And there are many other ways to get distracted from the work, as my fellow writing parents or writers-with-day-jobs (or writers-with-night-jobs) will attest. 

Is it worse to be distracted by life matters, funny penguin videos, crotch-shot Vines, or by the next funky idea that pops into your head? AND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT YOU WILL NEVER WRITE IT DOWN . . .

And there is certainly a difference between writing in a good mood, and writing while depressed. I get the latter often enough. The factors that trigger my mental illness include money issues, having a messy house, feeling overwhelmed by trying to deal with those two things, and the state of the world in general. So sometimes I write to escape, and sometimes I write to deal. Sometimes I write to explore different ways of handling things. There’s always a drama coming out of the simplest thing in front of me. For example: when I was picking up clothes from the floor of my bedroom, I saw a spider crawl out from under my side-table. It disappeared under the bed, heading toward one of my shoes. 

Do you know how many possibilities that raises?

Got splashed with scalding hot candle wax on my wrist — I put it in a book.

Survival of anything is a great starting point for a story. But so are childhood experiences, road trips, dental appointments, or something someone else has written, if you want to use it as a jumping-off point to explore an idea. It’s the work of expanding the idea into an outline, fleshing out the details, listening to the dialogue as it builds and discerning the environment. (That is, if you’re a planner. If you’re a seat-of-the-pantser, forget the outline part.)  When the details start rolling, that’s when the Net can be your friend once again. Look at the neat poster I found with eye colours on it!

And on top of all that, there are the awesome cosplay / costume contact lenses out there now that look like zombie eyes, tiger eyes, vampire eyes, cyborg eyes . . .  

Writer brain now ponders a story idea based on a problem with contact lenses. An infection? A tiny circuit that starts boring through the visual cortext and into the brain? Mind control?

This is why this happens:

Loads and loads of paper. Sticky notes flapping from every flat surface. Woe betide the family member who moves too quickly past the stack of papers and sends it careening to the floor. This is where bulletin boards can come in handy. I’ve been finding that taking pictures of the notes is helpful, too, because then I can’t lose them. 

It’s strangely comforting to look at a writer’s office space / den / cave and recognize that I’m not alone in this! Put your hand up if this is your world, too:

I’ve rcently come to realize that I am not a minimalist. I’m not one of those who can sit in an empty space and focus on the story. Nor can I write in a mess. There’s a balance to be found in there, somewhere. I’m just still looking for it. 

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