Writing – what you can do with the wind behind you

I often write about the challenge in finding the time to write. However there are times when the wind is at your back and you find yourself at exactly the right mental place and physical time

There are times when you begin to write and keep on writing, when a story appears almost fully formed in one sitting. It seems almost magical.

I participated in Nanowrimo twice, where the aim was to produce 1667 words per day for a month. On some days it was torture trying to stir up the words, on other days my fingers flew over the keyboard.

This morning just after I woke I wrote a blog post (on flash fiction!) in half an hour. On another occasion a similarly length post took me two hours. Sometimes it is the material that suits you. Perhaps without even knowing it you have stored up a whole lot of information and associations about a particular topic or relating to a particular germ of a story. There are times when you seem to find a key to a whole lot of subconscious associations or a significant memory that comes alive when juxtaposed with some new information and suddenly there are a whole lot of words coming fast one after the other.

Sometimes it is the time of day or year that suits. Certainly many of us experience a surge in energy at this time of year as the days get much brighter. I am a morning person and combined with that transition state between dreams, imagination and reality, it is for me, an ideal time to write. For others whose body clock favours evening time more, they may write late into the night.

Sometimes everything clicks and we don’t really know why but if possible we need to look at the times when we feel the wind in our sails and really get going and ask ourselves why, what, when, how and perhaps who. When do we feel drive and inspiration generally and is it possible (and it isn’t always) to free up that time. If we can, we might do as much writing in one hour as we will in a whole other afternoon.

Have you ever had the experience of having the writing wind behind you? Is there a particular time of the day, year or even in your life when things flowed. Can we help it happen again or is it just one of those elusive things? What do you think?

5 thoughts on “Writing – what you can do with the wind behind you

  1. Morning is the richest part of the day for writing for me — I agree that it is closeness to dreamtime of night that does this. But the way I can most consistently get the wind behind me is to do something paradoxical: walk away from my work for a few minutes or a few hours. When I return, things are likely to skim along.

    1. alisonwells

      Hi Lindsay, Yes I have to agree that a walk, or a moment away from work really can work wonders. It’s what I call my washing line moments, I always think of something while I’m out there! Creativity will never be an exact science but its great when it works!

  2. I had three hours in which to write this morning — and ideas flowing like Cornish rain. So far I’ve written (counts…) 15 words (these). But my child is warm, fed, well attended, and no longer crying 🙂 My challenge today is to hold the ideas in my head long enough to splatter them pagewards when they’re all asleep.
    BUT… a few months ago I had a short lull in the day job / kid juggle, with plenty of time to write, and I didn’t enjoy it half as much, nor produce anything ‘edgy’. Sometimes I think I have more inspiration — and writing success — from my juggling, conflicting mania/life than I would ever have in a peaceful, desk-friendly existence. Perhaps it’s survival of the fittest — only the most memorable ideas survive my current whirlwind… or perhaps it’s just that I am naturally a night owl.
    Or maybe I’m delusional?!

    1. alisonwells

      Martha, I love what you say in this post, it reminds me of a post I read on studio mothers about the ideas coming back to us later, and even if we lose some, it doesn’t matter. And your point about our writing having an edge coming out of the maelstrom of activity is brilliant, we should not decry our angst! The most important, important thing is to have the back of an envelope handy at all times! And yes, maybe you are delusional, I think as writers, we all have to be, don’t we? !!

  3. For me, it’s the law of averages. I show up every day and write three pages–no matter what. Some days its crap, scraping the scum off my brain-pond. But more days I keep going after the first three pages to *something*. Story ideas, scenes, character flashes, plot advancement. And then, occasionally, once the pond scum is culled, a real lotus pops up from the depths. When that happens, I just say thank you and write. The same as when there’s nothing but dead algae.

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