This topic is somewhat related to second drafts. No really, it is!
Have you ever been up to your eyeballs in revisions, when suddenly a great idea pops into your head? Not an idea for your current story, but for a brand new story? A setting, a line of dialogue, an image of a character. Whatever it is, it’s spectacular (or so it seems at the time), and you don’t want to forget it! But you’re also trying to focus on your second draft. The last thing you need is something to distract you and pull you off track.
Yet everyone needs a break from revisions, a chance to write something new. Not too much time, but enough to keep your sanity. You can’t splurge on a whole new story idea, but maybe you could spare ten minutes a day to write for pure fun. Writing without editing—what a relief! A way of returning to our roots, to the reason we fell in love with writing in the first place.
Instead of story ideas circulating in your brain, maybe you have random thoughts you want to hold on to. What if you created a collection of all those deep, meaningful thoughts? Call it a journal, diary, idea book, or whatever you want.
I kept journals when I was a kid. No one has read them but me, though rereading them now makes me cringe. Terrible writing and boring entries. I was so annoyed with them, I got out of the habit of journal-writing. My problem—no one saw my journals, so I wasn’t motivated to write well.
What if you could write a journal that someone saw? Someone to hold you accountable. Not like those fake journals you had to write for school, when the teacher would read them. I’m talking about entries of your choosing—the stuff that interests you the most—given to whoever you want to share it with. No pressure or grade, but also no reason to slack off and be lazy. Freedom without sloppiness, discipline without boredom. A year’s collection of our best thoughts. What better gift could you give to someone who aches for your innermost thoughts everyday?
This may also prevent you from burning out on your novel. And it’s good writing practice! It allows you to keep track of books, songs, movies, poems, story ideas, observations, or random thoughts that have no place anywhere else.
I challenge you to write freestyle for ten (or fifteen, or twenty—the number is up to you) minutes a day. Do it at the same time everyday so it’s a habit. Use a timer so you don’t get out of control (it might become addicting!). No editing allowed! Write in a notebook, or start a file on the computer that you can later print off and bind together. The next best thing to getting a book published! By Christmas time, you’ll have a meaningful gift for that special someone(s). Good luck!
Off topic: Happy Birthday to Victoria and Savannah!! We plan to celebrate by seeing THE LIGHTNING THIEF at the theater! WOOT!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Wishing you all a lovely weekend!