Ebb and Flow – How do you write?

How do you write?

I used to feel inadequate when I heard writers say they set aside a certain number of hours each (and every) day for solid writing. When many of those same writers then questioned the dedication of others who didn’t adhere to this rigid discipline… I for one would cringe.

Because I don’t think all writers follow that set rule – and I certainly don’t. It’s not that I’m not committed. And it’s not that I don’t love my writing. It’s just that I don’t work that way.

For myself, I find the ‘real’ writing comes in waves. Sometimes my head is a swirling pool of ideas and I write and write and write – or drive everyone crazy!

Other times, I (gasp!) write nothing. I may not have the time or headspace to write. I may be caught up in other aspects of my life, like work and family. I might be trapped in the ‘business’ of writing. Sometimes I just (gulp) don’t have the ideas.

But then there are those wonderful times when the writing flows out of my fingers like a river in flood and I know that I still am a writer.

For me, writing in bursts is a case of quality verse quantity. I am at my best when my life is busiest. I find I am focused and productive. I make every moment count – every word count. Then, with my head cleared of thoughts, I have time, space and energy to devote to other important areas of my life.

And funnily enough, those ‘other areas’ are often my greatest sources of inspiration. So though I’m not writing, I’m doing research. Being inspired… Drifting with the flow… Subconsciously churning plots and plans ready to ride the next wave of creativity.

Now, I don’t force it – except when I slip up. And I don’t fight it. I’d go crazy! I know my best writing happens when I relax and enjoy the ebb-and-flow of writing.

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7 comments

  1. So true, but I’m still learning to ride the currents (as opposed to riding currants which would have me perched atop a raisin). Sometimes my desire to write is at its greatest when I just can’t manage to fit it in, but then I wonder if that’s just a case of wanting what you can’t have?? I try to accept the ebb and flow and make the most of it. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. Pingback: TUESDAY WRITING TIP – GOOD WRITING HABITS « DeeScribewriting Blog

  3. Yes, Kat it is a bit of a mystery as to when the best time to write is and how we compare to others. I am in the doldrums at the moment. I’m not writing. I am waiting for an idea, inspiration, a task. Not sure which direction I’m heading in. Sometimes when I’m waiting to hear if I’ve been rejected or accepted, I just wait. Unsure if I’m worthy enough to get on with it. I know I’ll get back into it soon. And when I do, I know like always, I’ll love the creativity.

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  4. Oh my goodness. Have you been in my head at any point in the past Kat?? Reads like it! Had a wave wash over me this week. Thoroughly enjoyed the sensation and the resultant jolt into productivity. But the tsunami has now returned to regular ebb and flow pattern. That’s ok. I’m familar with its rhythm. Any way the waves are too loud to hear the little voice in my head repeating in vain…just get back to the manuscript!!

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  5. Pingback: Ebb and Flow of 2011 « Kathryn Apel


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