Flow State For Writers

Or how to bust writers block.

Stop thinking.

Yup, I’ve solved your problem. Worrying about word count is silliness at the beginning. Constantly trying to contrive characters and plot lines is a fool’s errand.

Learn to relax, let the story unfold or as I like to say, percolate. When writing a first draft of a fictional piece you can do the thinking in an outline. Who is there, what’s the problem, how’s it going to be resolved (or will it?), what happens in between. You can build a thumbnail sketch and then step back.

The urge to take that great idea and calculate it’s finished presentation is the kind of thinking that causes storyline still births. Right now I’m crafting a Faerytale for grown ups. It started as a short story inspired by the intensity of the full moon on Winter Solstice. After plucking the first 2,000 words from the ether, the story claimed it’s right to be something bigger.

I wrote another 2,000 words and let it sit, percolating. Over the past week I’ve been recording notes and conversations with characters. That’s right, I take the crazy route to writing. I sit and ponder, looking out windows or while driving I ask my characters what they want, where they want to go and what will be most fun or dangerous or banal in their world.

I’m not pressuring myself to finish, meet some arbitrary deadline, after all I’m not under contract to produce. I write because otherwise stories pile up in my head like a 20 car collision on an interstate.

I work on other stories and projects and cycle production on which “voice” is loudest. What I don’t do is over think.

When it’s time to sit and write, let go, don’t worry if anyone else likes what you’ve written, it’s a first draft it will be clunky and raw. You will repeat words and gestures, you’ll write yourself into a corner here and there, so stop for a bit and do something else. Don’t talk about writer’s block or you’ll build a wall of resistance that’s hard to bust through. Get up, take a walk, soak in the tub, eat something and get ready for a new flood of writing possibilities for your story.

It’s like an active meditation, clear your mind and you’ll finish the manuscript, then the real work begins.

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