Saturday, July 17, 2010

Creative Detours

Three days into our beach vacation, I was beginning to stress out over the lack of time I'd spent writing. The week leading up to the trip had been busy, and my husband consistently reassured me that I'd have "plenty of time to write" at the beach.

I didn't doubt the sincerity of his words - just the feasibility and logistics of making them a reality. Vacation offers too many other temptations - opportunities that not only vanish once the trip is over, but cause the discipline of writing to be about as tempting as day old crab cakes left out in the sun. How could sitting down and working possibly compete?

Nearly a week in, I'm finding that it can't - at least not in the butt-in-chair-git-'er-done style necessary to move forward on a novel-in-progress, final revisions or a book proposal. What did happen, however, was that the less disciplined aspects of writing - the creative part - struck gold.

I discovered that two hours on the beach or five minutes work on a jigsaw puzzle can unfreeze the brain, help make a transition from one scene into another...or just provide a brain break. The combination of relaxation, a change of pace and a change of scenery kept my pen flying over the page, my fingers clicking on the keyboard as I made observations, wrote blogs and concocted the "what ifs" that form the foundation of future projects.

As writers seeking publication, we are often so driven that we run over our creativity in our haste to make good time down the road of success. And while roadkill may make for an interesting diversion or plot twist, particularly in genre fiction, it can't sustain an entire project.

Sometimes, we need to get off the beaten path and just enjoy the scenery, trusting that our subconscious writers' minds will continue to churn without us...

...which is why it's important to always have a notebook in the glove compartment.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I find working on a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to work out a scene. And then sometimes I just enjoy them as stress reducers.

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

I rarely make time to do them any more, but always enjoy doing one while we're at the beach. Strangely enough, it minimized my procrastination!!