Plot bunny: a story idea that refuses to go away until it is written. (source: Wikiwrimo)
A common pest in many novelists’ writerly gardens, plot bunnies are not confined to works of fiction.
They’ll show up any writer’s elbow to direct the creative flow in the direction they want. They have one job: to make you go off on as many tangents as possible.
You know how it goes. You start drafting your blog post with the best intentions. Next thing you know, your draft has devolved into recounting that one time in third grade when you saw your teacher spend the entire class period picking his nose.
Never went that far? Just me?
Okay then, moving on.
Blog plot bunnies don’t have to run amok and take your post with them. You can keep them at bay. You can even put them to work for you.
It happens to every writer. Every so often, we hit a dry spell. One minute we’re bursting with clever copy and witty word banter. The next minute, we’re trying to remember the difference between “write” and “right.”
Kristen Lamb, author of #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer, recently posted on her blog:
“We must fill our creative well before we write,
or we have nothing to draw from.”
– Kristen Lamb,
The First & Most Crucial Step to OWNING NaNoWriMo
Although her post focuses on fiction writers gearing up for National Write Your Ass Off month (also known as November), she makes a good point about writers’ creativity in general: we need to keep refilling our creative wells or they’ll run dry.
Image courtesy of MFer Photography, via Flickr Commons
I like to write helpful posts. Information, discoveries, inspiration, resources—things that’ll help you do whatever it is you’re trying to do.
This probably isn’t one of those posts.
But it still might brighten your general outlook. So here we go…
A writer’s brain likes to entertain itself, especially when it’s had a sleep aid.
Last night, I dreamt that I was on a sail boat packed bow to stern with other contractor creatives, mostly copywriters and designers. The skies were charcoal grey. The seas were stormy. Wave after wave dumped water on our heads (I was on deck). We all wore argyle sweaters.
Whoever was at the helm took us to a deserted island and unloaded us onto shore, still wearing our argyle sweaters.
One by one, we had to stand in a wooden outhouse from the Wild West; complete with moon silhouette on the door.
Having writer’s block and a looming deadline can zap your creative juices faster than a cat can claw you for rubbing its belly.
There’s always typing with your eyes closed but sometimes —such as when your brain is stressed — closing your eyes just gives your brain time to invent horrors that will befall you should you fail.
Most often, when you’re blocked, it’s not because you can’t find any words; it’s because you can’t settle on the right words. You expect perfection the first time out.
Add to that being under the proverbial gun to produce, and you’ve got pressure.
So much pressure.
Sometimes you thrive. Other times, you need an escape route.
Give yourself something to edit.
Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure,
not this thing nor that, but simply growth.
– W.B. Yeats
When was the last time you audited your environment?
Never mind all those articles you’ve read about creating an effective creative space. We’re writers; one size never fits all. It’s part of our charm; we’re quirky.
To figure out whether or not you need to update your workspace, you only need to ask yourself how well do your surroundings bring out the best in you?
Are you surrounded with items that inspire you or help you produce?
Or are you just used to having them there?
As I’ve made room for wedding gifts and honeymoon souvenirs, it’s occurred to me that I have a lot of stuff that doesn’t bring me joy anymore; it’s just there. I don’t even think about them anymore. Sound familiar?