I’ve known for a while that writing is not merely sitting at a keyboard (or with pen and paper) and just spewing words out, despite what NaNoWriMo encourages its participants to do. Big or little, ideas need a place not just to germinate but to also sprout, grow and bear unexpected fruit. I know of several writers who carry notebooks of one sort or another just for scribbling down ideas and idea fragments wherever and whenever they happen to strike. Consider this another tool in your toolbox.
There was a recent post on Writers In The Storm about what your writing space looks like. Modern lore about writers tends to describe the place they write as a desk in a special little room, specifically setup for writing. But the assumption is that all writers need is a place and a mechanism for putting words on paper. And this takes us back to the original assumption.
I don’t think a writing space is something you can build out of an Ikea catalogue. It’s like a hobbyist’s workshop, or an artist’s studio. Bits and pieces required for various tasks eventually coaslesce, especially as they get re-used in new projects. Eventually a new home really needs to be found where everything can be stored more-or-less in the same place. It can be a bit painful, but once this is done, you realize it’s actually nice having all the screwdrivers together.
I don’t have a dedicated writing space. I don’t have a special room, desk or chair to write up or type up my ideas. I may acquire these things in time. For now, I do much of my writing away from all that.
Or should I say, Writing. There is a difference between putting words together and putting ideas together. Oft-times doing the former can be a hindrance to the latter. I realized the other day that what I particularly love about writing is those moments when a plot twist occurs to me – no matter how small in the scheme of things – in my current work-in-progress. They usually come when I am not sitting on my arse, typing. In fact, they often occur when I am walking a familiar walking route, like between home and the local railway station.
Even Neil Gaiman has said he will go out for a walk to figure out some plot point. Douglas Adams has famously written of taking baths to generate ideas. Kate Forsyth walks the dog.
So I’m in good company.
Where are the places you get ideas storifying themselves?