Getting words on the page is vital. If you leave words in your brain, you can’t move forward.
Writers write, that’s what we do. Words on the page should be your mantra, especially if you’re having difficulty writing consistently. Words on the page makes your writing tangible and concrete.
But rules are meant to be broken. I fully believe in getting words on the page. But sometimes a good think is necessary.
This isn’t general thinking. “I should write something.” This is specific focused thinking about a work in progress where you let ideas, characters, questions, and plot points run around your brain.
I think a lot when I’m in the middle of a play. It’s an active part of my process because the work is always with me – when I’m grocery shopping, when I’m getting ready in the morning, when I’m trying to sleep at night. I like to have a constant connection with my writing even when I’m not in front of my laptop.
Get your think on
Talk to yourself. Talk yourself through a plot hole. Imagine a conversation with your main character. Imagine the play is being staged, what does it look like, what are the most effective parts? Use your think time to visualize what you’re working on.
Ask questions. Ask questions and come up with a couple different answers. Ask yourself What if? If you give yourself a structure to your think time (like asking and answering questions) it’ll feel less like a free for all and you may indeed solve problems more quickly.
Sometimes you’ve exhausted your time with the page. You’ve written down so many words and none of them are right. You can’t figure out where to go next. Change the method. Take a comfortable seat, close your eyes and connect to your thoughts.
My favourite think time is when I’m walking. If I’m stuck and frustrated, a walk often does the trick. I can let my brain go wild and get some much needed fresh air. Nine times out of ten, the problem I couldn’t write my way out of unravels itself easily.
And then what?
Write it down. Always have a pen and paper nearby, or put an ap on your phone (like Google Keep) where you can type in your notes. Thinking is good, and if it leads to writing, even better.
Are you a thinker? If you are, don’t shy away from it because of any “how to write” rule. Make it work for you, make it part of your process. Use every tool at your disposal to get that draft done.