Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Writing Tips

Spring time, and most notably spring holiday time, is always interesting for me as a writer.  For one thing, there's the holiday bit that starts committing a bunch of family time.  Then there is the fact that the sun starts shining, the weather starts improving, and the call to outside grows.  It's a balancing act that gets even tougher when you're trying to work full time and focus on your day job.  So, how am I going to shove myself forward a bit?  I've formulated a plan, similar to something that I did last year while writing Drawing Battle Lines for what became a December release.  These tips might even work out for a few fellow writers out there, should the lack of time - or writer's block - come to bear.

1. The Google Doc
You know, Google really managed to update something that I had done for years with Yahoo's portal toys, some emailed text files and, further back, a scrap of paper.  It works even better in this scenario, though, because of mobile involvement.  I've moved some notes, resources, and other bits of writing items into Google Docs.  Now, if I'm at home, I'm taking a lunch break at work, or sitting on the train with my Android phone, and inspiration strikes, I've got the ability to continue what I was working on, or jot down a new idea.

2. Keep the Laptop Close
Borrowing a bit from another great writer that I know, every time can become writing time.  My best friend keeps his laptop on his lap while just hanging out and watching TV.  Even if he hadn't intended to work on his writing, it's there the moment he feels like swapping over, canceling out inertia.  This little tactic that I've picked up makes for a nifty zone-in technique.  While your sense of inertia - body at rest staying at rest - kicks in during an episode of The Big Bang Theory, the laptop is already there and you can start writing.  I've caught the intro to one episode... and suddenly popped back out of my writing in the middle of another episode, without noticing the time had passed.  And, in that space, come up with two or three solid pages of next science fiction.  It makes dead evening time a bit more productive.

3. Every Time is Writing Time
This one is absolutely poor form, and can earn you some nicknames like "hermit" or worse, but it's productive for writing.  The laptop has not only joined me at TV time, but whips out on the train, at the dinner table, and even comes out to restaurants if I'm not the mood to cook, and eating alone.  If you're dialed in, you're dialed in, and that's great.  Warning: best to leave it at home if you know that you're supposed to be interacting with people.  Might also want to check the restaurant to make sure it's cool to bring the laptop along.  Yelp might help.

4. Sun and Screen
I've got a deck, with a wobbly table and deck chair.  I've also got one of those canvas chairs that packs up nicely and transports easily.  There are some decent grass and wooded areas around.  So when the sun starts to shine, and the warmth factor increases, but you really need to get some work done... why not do it and pick up a little color?  Swap what you're working on over to a Notepad file, sit on the deck or patio... or throw a canvas chair out on a nice area of grass... and write.  Last summer, I wrote an entire chapter while adding some much needed color one weekend.  No one needs to be pasty in order to write.