This is my September post for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. It's all about writers helping writers here. To read other participants, or to join in click here. BTW, this is the TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY of IWSG! A big shout out to Alex and his co-hosts for making this happen each month!
Over my eight week writing course this summer, I learned a tidbit that has taken me for quite a ride. Are you ready for this?
Thinking is writing, too.
On week days, I get up early so I can write for forty-five minutes in the morning before it's time to leave for work. I have to set an alarm or I’d still be sitting there at midnight. When it goes off, I. So. Want. To. Keep. Going. But I can’t. I drag myself off to the place that pays our medical benefits, yearning to be back in front of my keyboard. But it’s been better lately because I took home that little nugget from class.
“The time you spend thinking about your story counts,” our teacher said. “If you can’t be writing, you can be thinking.”
The story I’m working on has holes. I’m aware of it. Heeding the advice from class, I spent my insomniac hours, time behind the wheel and waiting in line at the grocery store, playing “what if?” And last week, just as I was pulling my car into a parking space in front of work, the tumblers clicked into place and a missing piece revealed itself.
Writing is so much more than words on a page. Conjecture, research, daydreaming and formulating, they all matter too. A story can’t come to life without all of the above. Most recently, my morning writing has involved fleshing out what I learned this summer while thinking.
So scrap the guilt. The next time you feel bad about not having enough “writing time,” don’t worry.