The other night I opened my WIP to work on a scene I’ve been struggling with for quite some time. I’m not one of those writers who can move forward and go back to fix something. I have to be satisfied with one scene before I can write the next one.
My crit buddy and I had been IMing about the scene. She left to fix dinner, and I decided to spend the next 45 minutes writing before I had to participate in the My Book Therapy Monday Night Chat. Instead of writing, I grabbed the newest Susie May Warren novel and headed for the bathroom.
As I sunk to my chin in a tubful of bubbles, I opened Point of No Return and picked up where I had left off the night before. Although the story is engaging, my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about the scene I continued to struggle with. I set the book down for a minute, leaned back, and closed my eyes.
Within minutes, my muse relaxed and words formed coherent sentences. Sentences flowed into paragraphs so quickly, I had to keep repeating them over and over in my head so I wouldn’t forget. After a few minutes, I dashed out of the tub, wrapped a towel around myself, and grabbed a notebook and pen off my desk.
I climbed back in the tub and spent the next twenty minutes scribbling as quickly as the words would come. Afterward, I typed the scene, smoothed out the edges, and then submitted the chapter to my critique partner.
I admire beautiful prose. I’m not one of those writers who creates breathtaking sentences that linger with the reader. From time to time, though, my muse flashes a sentence or two that makes me smile with contentment. Last night was one of those times.
So, the next time you have writer’s block, sink into a tubful of bubbles and let Calgon take you away to a place where your muse has free reign.
Your turn: How do you work through challenges in your writing?
Lisa, I'm a big fan of Calgon escapes. I end each day soaking in a tub full of Calgon-scented hot water while savoring a few chapters of the latest romance I'm reading.
I find that when I take walks through my historic Gold Rush town, I'm transported to the past when my stories take place, and ideas begin to flow.
Usually another book and a walk. That seems to help 95% of the time. Great stuff, Lisa! Glad the scene came to life for you!
I've been prone to push through during a relaxing bubble bath, but I find pacing my living room and talking out loud, in my character's voice unlocks what comes next. I look crazy and may even sound crazy depending on if the character has an accent…but it works for me!
Yay! I'm glad that happened for you! Scenes tend to clear out in my mind when I'm doing mindless housework. LOL Go figure.
Reading really does seem to kick-start my creativity. Every morning, I get up early and walk on my treadmill for 40 minutes while reading. I get SO many good ideas. Someone told me that's because walking increases your blood flow which gets more oxygen to your brain. That, combined with reading fiction from others really puts me in the right frame of mine to start my writing day.
Keli, a nightly bubble bath with a good book sounds terrific! Oh, the sacrifices we make for our art. 😉
Katie, reading helps trigger different thought processes for me too. I don't try to mimic what the author of the book I'm reading is doing, but sometimes reading it helps me to see my scene in a new way.
Jessica, I haven't tried talking to myself. I have, however, been caught up in a scene and taken those emotions from that scene out on my family. They've come to understand. 🙂
Jessica, housework helps me to think too. While cleaning my basement, one of my characters revealed something that changed the story for the better.
Stephanie, I admire your dedication. It's all I can do to drag myself out of bed to get ready for work.
It's amazing when that happens. I have a chapter I read yesterday and today it won't leave me alone. I know something isn't right but have yet to figure it out. A lot of times as I am walking on the treadmill it will come to me. Not yet!!