|I got distracted by the 80's time traveling to Target. |
Here's a mannequin wearing tie-dyed shorts and a t-shirt tied in front.
I recommend that my my busy writing students read a troublesome part of their piece or think about an issue in their piece before they start their day. This allows their mind to actively - and perhaps subconsciously - work out an issue. Maybe a character needs a better backstory or someone from the past needs to be better understood in order to move past a boring caricature. Whatever it is, you can think about it while you fold laundry or go food shopping (of course, pay attention while you drive, bike, scooter or walk!)
I recommended this technique recently and I was challenged. The writer said, "Really? You do that and you can still pay attention to whatever you're doing?" I responded with a firm, "Yes!" She looked doubtful and a little annoyed.
I worried I was optimistically misrepresenting myself (so many writers are prone to anxiety and second guessing.) Do I? Do I sometimes or even ever focus that much on a writing problem while doing something else? I think I do, but do I? As it quickly turned into questions about my ability to live in the present (anxiety!), I decided to test it.
I had an essay idea in mind. A friend had asked me a question the other day and as I started to answer, she said, "You should write that! I'd read it!" I decided to take that challenge.
So since I also had to go to Target today, I decided to make it a three prong challenge: 1. Go to Target. 2. Think about the essay I want to write. 3. Prove that I can both go to Target and think about an essay.
I needed to make sure that going to Target with a list of different kinds of soaps and cereals to buy wouldn't be counter to writing. I wrote myself an email with some key words and then thought a lot about the issues, possible scenes and bigger ideas as I gathered items in my cart.
Back home, I sat down to write. And, lo and behold, I succeeded in writing a 1,500 word draft fairly quickly. Is it finished? Far from it. But I did succeed in getting out some ideas in my "sh*tty first draft."
This is all to say that while it can sound pretty "woo woo" to make running errands a part of writing, it is possible. Undo your boredom and write-think today!