You may have noticed that Pearl’s posts have been somewhat sporadic since she took over from Millie.
This is because greyhounds are basically lazy. They sometimes have spurts of energy, but they prefer to spend most of their time chilling out. Pearl is often too lazy even to do her job as a Storyhound; it’s been so long since she astral-traveled to Storyland to hunt down ideas for my writing that I’ve had to start thinking up ideas myself!
I’m not as good at astral travel as a dog, so I have to use other methods. I’ve found it useful to do a few pages of free writing first thing in the morning. This is something I used to do naturally, but earlier this year my mind got so cluttered up with RULES that my WIP nearly ground to a halt. Those pesky RULES would keep popping in and interrupting my flow, and I don’t need that while I’m working on a first draft. With free writing, there’s only one rule, and that’s NO rules – it doesn’t have to please anyone, not even me. It doesn’t even have to make sense. So, no pressure.
I started with a suggestion I found in Ray Bradbury’s wonderful book Zen in the Art of Writing. He recommends using free association to make a random list of words, then picking one word from the list and writing whatever comes into your head about that word. By following this method, I’ve managed to churn out a short story most mornings for nearly two months. Some of them are rubbish, but that doesn’t matter. Since I started doing this, the WIP has begun to flow again – not as glitch-free as I’d like, but I’m hoping the situation will improve as I continue the free writing practice. And one or two of the short stories look quite promising!
Do any of you do free writing? I’d love to hear what methods other writers use to get started.