Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not Reading, Not Writing

After a full, but relatively uneventful, weekend, I had a rather grueling Monday and didn't get home until late. In my world, that also translates into oversleeping, LOL (except as I'm rushing around, I'm really not "laughing out loud," grumble).

This morning, I shelved all the brilliant ideas I wanted to write and asked myself, "What is one good piece of writerly wisdom I could share briefly and succintly?"

The stock answer might be, "Read, because good writers are readers" or "Write. Just write. "Planning, plotting, and jotting are wonderful, but mean little unless one actually writes."

Lucrative advice, of course, advice I follow and would not refute. Yet, I have found some of my best writing occurs when I am actually engaged in neither of these.

All good art contains white space, the area where it seems like nothing is happening: no color, no lines, no shape, etc. But without the white space, the rest wouldn't be visible. If you haven't incorporated "white space" into your writing, and you're hitting a wall, try it. But what do I mean by "white space?"

I mean, take a break from reading. Take a break from writing. Tuck your story, a character, a plot twist, whatever, into the back of your subconsious and go about some other business. Don't forget about it. Just set it on the back burner to simmer, kind of like mixing the biscuits while the soup barely bubbles. You're still making soup, even if you're not constantly fiddling with it in the meantime. In fact, too much fiddling often produces bad soup.

Take your dog for a walk. Garden. Re-roof the house. Seriously. Like that old sappy saying about butterflies resting on your shoulder when you're not paying attention holds true, I think, for writerly muses.

Anyway, it won't hurt to try. Besides, you KNOW you should really clean out your car.

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