Last month I took a few days to flesh out my next novel and promptly…
An Hour with a Blank Notebook #WW
How often do you find a quiet spot and let your imagination play?
Part of the writer’s life is exploring ideas. For a long time, I neglected carving out an hour to sit with a notebook and just explore. But I overhauled my approach to my workweek and now have dedicated time every week to do this.
I usually don’t stay at home for this creative session. I like to go to a local park or, if the weather’s bad, I’ll head to a coffee shop. I bring my idea notebook and a black Pilot G-2 pen. Sometimes I have an agenda–a plot that isn’t cooperating, a short story starter, a future workshop brewing in my head–but other times I just sit and let my mind wander.
I’m finding that an hour with a blank notebook:
- is relaxing.
- untangles the stories jumbling up in my head.
- provides clarity about my current work-in-progress.
- reminds me of being a kid.
- helps me prioritize.
- makes me laugh when a weird idea jumps on the page.
- goes by quickly.
- but also goes by so slow–a good slow.
- makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself.
- is necessary. Absolutely necessary.
When I think of all the weeks I let slip by without intentionally tending to my ideas, I get sad. I mean, it’s one hour a week. I can find a measly hour.
It’s skipping one television drama.
Cutting back on social media.
Working smarter to fit my writing in for the day.
Since I made this mandatory–I even gave it a firm day and time–I can’t believe how much simpler other parts of my life have become. Suddenly I have a blog plan for the rest of the year, two short stories ready to be plotted, a deeper conflict for an upcoming book, and a lot of random thoughts that might go nowhere! Who cares? Imaginations are there for a reason. Ideas breed more ideas. What’s not to love about that?
Do you set aside time to just sit and think and let your imagination skip around? If yes, what works for you? If no, why not try it?
A HUGE thank you to everyone who purchased my current release (still in stores!), Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets! It hit #18 on the Publisher’s Weekly mass market paperback bestseller list on October 1! What a dream come true–thank you!!
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This is something I started doing this summer, although I’ve missed a few days here and there…I also find it relaxing-yet-energizing.
We all miss days here and there, but it’s worth doing!
Inside the top twenty! Girl, look at what God is doing through you!!! Jill, I’m so excited for you.
I also recently sat down for a few minutes (not a full hour, but long enough to be helpful) and got my blog plan for the rest of the year (minus one random week that I’m not sure what I’ll write about; still thinking on that one). Another thing you mentioned, “Ideas breed more ideas,” is so true for me too… and my writing buddy Hannah knows it. As soon as I told her about my latest editing job (already turned in by now), she said something to the effect of, “Get ready to jot ideas down for your own stories!” That was so true! They flood in quite often when I’m either writing/editing my own stuff or working on a client’s book. Of course I take the time to jot them down, but then I tell them to hush and wait their turn, because I have a job to do. I love when those ideas come racing in, though, because it means I’ll get even better ideas for the project I’m currently working on (or catch even more typos, if I’m working for a client at the time). I love this process we call writing!
Congrats again on the amazing top-twenty spot!
It was totally a God thing, for sure, Andrea! Thanks for celebrating with me!
I know what you mean about editing prompting ideas. For me, I think it’s because my brain knows I’ll be finishing a project and it’s “okay” to go wild on the next one!
I love the writing process, too, and I love your enthusiasm!! Woohoo!!
Jill, yes! on the enthusiasm. I’m in the middle of editing my own book right now (still need to write the end, though), and I’m feeling more enthusiastic about the whole writing thing now than I ever have before. I don’t know if it’s because my process is getting better honed or if I’ve found more focus (which is often a huge struggle for my ADD mind) or something completely different, but I’m excited about it all the same. It feels like God is about to do something amazing with my writing… and I’m eager to find out what that is.
Yay for enthusiasm!! It’s probably a bit of both–better process AND more focus, and isn’t that terrific?? I can’t wait to see what He does!
Hi Jill, I don’t do this often enough. I’m doing it right now because I need to bump up the word count of a story, which is amazing in itself, usually I’m asked to cut. If not ordered to cut. I’ll be brainstorming with myself this week and next. Maybe I’ll try your coffee shop idea, and I do find that inspiration still comes to me with a pad and pen. Yellow legal pad, please, and my Favorite Pen In the World is a Pilot G2. Black, medium or bold point.
Ooh, I’m glad you’re brainstorming and adding to the story! Yellow legal pads and Pilot G2s are the best!!!
Lately, my imagination runs wild while listening to music. Stories will start forming and I can’t write the ideas fast enough. 🙂 I love how God sends inspiration at any time.
I’m going to have to try this! What type of music inspires your story ideas?
Congratulations on the success of your latest book. I try to find time to let my mind plan my blog themes for the upcoming year and to select my governing word for that year. But I don’t get to go away from home to do that. It sounds like something I should try. Don’t know about doing this each week, though.
Thanks, Cecelia! Finding time for blog themes is so smart! I go away from home because I’m here ALL the time! It’s good for me!