The Constant State of Writing

There are times when I can’t stop writing, but the timing is not convenient. This happens most often on weekdays, when I write at every stoplight I hit while driving, in between bites of meals, and while waiting to meet friends at restaurants. I almost always carry a notebook with me because of this, and I sometimes even end up using the Notes in my cell phone to type in some ideas if I have nothing else handy. While these massive spurts of inspiration feel wonderful and don’t distract me too much from other things I might be doing, it can be frustrating when you’ve got the ideas you want to write coming in full paragraphs and pages, but not the time to put it together. I sort of have to hit the figurative pause button in my brain and hope not to lose the flow.

Thus far, I have no solution to this constant state of writing which is so often inconvenient. Does anyone have suggestions about this? Strategies? Or is it something with which all writers are stuck? My best hope so far is just to jot down notes at every chance I get to keep myself from forgetting the basic ideas I’ve developed.

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6 comments on “The Constant State of Writing

  1. I get this a hell of a lot too Christie. I use my mobile phone when I don’t have any paper to hand. It would be nice to be able to hit a pause button on the world when creativity hits. Howver, I’m constantly finding that you can nurture/encourage creativity and even give it the opportunity to flourish but controlling when the sucker appears and blesses you with his/her magic is nigh on near impossible. Perhaps if you haven’t enought to time to write down enough to be able to continue later on then you could use your phone/a dictaphone to record your words, which may end up being faster than typing/writing them down – more stream of consciousness. Oh, and I’m very intrigued by the “Seeds in My Writing Orchard” section – looks like you’ve got a ton of delicious writing projects going on!

    • I’m glad you can sympathize with me 🙂 I didn’t think of recording my words with my phone/dictaphone…what a great idea! This will definitely help me out, especially since I think of a lot of my ideas while driving. Thanks for checking out my Writing Orchard – I’ll be adding more to the list soon, too!

  2. I get this in spurts- sometimes I’ll have an idea that comes almost fully formed, and I can’t write it down fast enough. Usually it’s smaller details, like a character name or a line of dialogue I like, that I’ll keep track of in a notebook. When I do get an idea for a new story, I’ve found myself holding off for a little bit, maybe a day or so, to keep mulling it over and fleshing it out. If I write it down, I stop worrying about forgetting it, and don’t think/work about it at all.

    A couple years ago, I was working at a mindless job while trying to outline a screenplay. I was able to just sit at my desk and think most of the day, and got a whole lot of work done- so much that I wound up jotting down almost the entire outline on post it notes when my boss wasn’t looking…

    • I have a similar thing with the mulling – when I think of an idea, I write down a working title and then I have to mull it over for a while (one story had to be mulled for a year) until I feel like it’s developed well enough to actually write.
      I also did that with an old job, but I never got an entire outline down! There’s something that feels almost more satisfying about writing during work, even on a break, probably because it feels like you’re getting two things done at once.

      • That job was an exception- I don’t generally like writing at work, or at least putting things on paper. It opens a big can of copyright worms (“You did it on our time, so we own it!”)- unlikely, but better safe than sorry. Just being busy seems to help me be productive: This past summer, I was teaching a class during the day, and came home and wrote almost every night. The class ran for a week, and afterward… not so much. When I’m busy, I can’t procrastinate. I’ve got to get it done now or never.

      • I agree with that. When I’m productive in one area, I’m usually productive in another. And it definitely forces you to work on your writing when you know you have a minimal amount of time to do it every day. But I also need to have a large chunk of time here and there to really focus on the writing/editing itself with no major time contraints so I can go through everything thoroughly, especially any pieces that I’m having trouble getting to sound the way I want them.

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