On the Writing Front

For the most part January’s been an uneventful month. I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m enjoying the quiet to some degree, although the quiet can sometimes keep me awake at night.

Every once in awhile I can’t stop thinking about the story I’m working on when I go to bed. It’s often at night that some new insight will strike me, and I suddenly know what needs to be done or what has been missing. Knowing the story I’m writing isn’t always enough to keep me writing through to the end. Sometimes I get bored by my own words or else sense that something isn’t quite right, but don’t always know just what that “something” is. So I end up lying awake. Thinking. There are worse things.

I’ve been experiencing some discontentment with my present WIP. I know the writing I’ve known it from the start, but knowing exactly how to tell it has been a bit of a stickler for me. But then something clicked the other night  as I was lying in bed and I figured out what was wrong. Yay me! So now it’s just a matter of whipping it up! Wrong. It’ll still take me sometime to do that, but at least I now know what wasn’t quite right.

I’ve experienced something similar when I first finished writing “To Fly With a Broken Wing.” I had that feeling that something didn’t quite feel right yet I’d convinced myself it was the only way the story could be told. I couldn’t see how it would be possible to write certain parts through the POV of a visually impaired girl since, well, her impairment would prevent her from seeing what was going on. So, I originally wrote some parts in first and third person. (I used third and first when I wrote Bitter, Sweet.)

So while I was flirting with the idea that my novel was complete, I was still having second thoughts about this POV issue. Finally, I decided I was just being silly about it, the novel was written and I was ready to send it to my editor. All that it needed was to be printed off and mailed in. The rest was out of my hands.

Funny, how we don’t always have a choice in things, and what we think will happen ends up happening in a totally different way. Before I had the chance to send my manuscript off I awoke one morning with this thought in my head, “Write it all in first person.”

But I’d ruled this out earlier. My main character is visually impaired, remember. Still, I couldn’t ignore a thought that was so crystal clear mere seconds after awakening could I? I spent the day considering if this was possible. How then would I make it work? I’ve got to tell you I don’t often get these jabs from the Universe, but as the day wore I decided that instead of wondering how I would do it, I would just do it. I would make the scene where Cammie describes what’s going on at a distance work. So yes, I figured it out. And you know what? It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.

Often times, I think, we hold the answers to our questions inside us. And for that reason, I like those times just before sleep arrives or immediately when I wake up. I believe when we’re most relaxed that thoughts come to us more freely if we stay open to the answers to our questions.

Have you ever experienced a time when a new insight came to you just before drifting off to sleep or immediately upon waking?


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  1. Yes. All the time. This is what I’ve been doing for years. If it is very good and I’m afraid I’ll forget it, I get up and write it down, or else I won’t be able to sleep. I do my best writing after I go to bed.

    I love winter for the solitude, the time to think, particularly when a storm rages outside and I am trapped at my computer.

    • One of my favourite times for writing is during a snow storm. The world seems to slow down and it’s the perfect time to write.

      If specific lines come to me at bedtime they need to be written down or else I’m bound to forget those clever phrases come morning. On the other hand if it’s something to do with the structure of the book I have no problem keeping that in my mind. Too bad we couldn’t just hit “rewind” in the morning. :)

  2. Sometimes the best ideas come then. My problem is when the ideas come in the middle of the night and I don’t lean over to the bedside table and write it down and in the morning I remember I had a “fabulous” idea and can’t remember it!

    • I’m not sure why those “middle of the night ideas” won’t stay with us. It’s happened to me in the past and I’d be certain I’d remember come morning, but apparently not. One would think that those great ideas would eventually come back to us at some point the same was we remember a dream we had some random time through-out the day.

  3. Angela Wilson

     /  January 29, 2013

    Yes. I have come up with some business ideas or ideas for inventions when I am laying in bed and can’t sleep. None of these ideas have ever come to fruition, however.Hmmmm. Maybe some day.

    • Don’t let those great ideas pass you by, Angela! Someday doesn’t always come along. I’ll be waiting to hear about one of your inventions in the future. :)

  4. Yes, this has happened to me as well. I am stuck in my current WIP. Perhaps I should go to bed and wait for inspiration!

    • Bed seems to be the place where inspiration finds many of us. I do believe it’s because we’re relaxed without interference from the outside world. Are you working on your next Amanda book?

      • Yes, I am. Amanda invites Leah to visit her in Alberta. I thought this would be easy as I was raised there. But I am actually finding it more difficult. Who knew?

        • It’s strange the things that come to us naturally in writing and those that don’t. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme nor reason either. Best of luck as you go forward, my friend. :)

  5. Maybe bedtime is the only time of day that we actually give our brains some time off, so our imaginations can have their turn after all the “busy-ness” of the day. In a recent post by Sarah Selecky, she talks about how the “white space” we used to have in our days (for pondering, daydreaming, letting our minds drift and really observe things) is filled with checking cellphones, Facebook, Pinterest–pick the electronic distraction of your choice. I think she has a point. Rather than trying to be connected all the time, we need to disconect. Rather than relaxing with a short (ha, ha) visit to Facebook, maybe just watching the rain, or listening to music with nothing in our hands but some knitting, or baking some muffins might give us the calm and the mindfulness that we need to find our creative answers during the daylight hours, too.

    • That sounds about right, Heather. We do have too many distractions these days, although I’m trying to be less distracted lately.I really want to take advantage of this extra writing time I have. It takes a lot of willpower though. We seem to feel as though our waking hours should be filled by doing things all the time.

  6. My epiphanies occur in that first moment of waking, before I even open my eyes and I lie there trying to get the thought firmly in my mind because once I move the most brilliant thoughts in the world vaporize immediately.

    • Many of us seem to have such brilliant ideas during those times, although some people claim to never have briliant ideas! Perhaps we have to allow ourselves to be open to these epiphanies and not everyone is. Hopefully one day those brilliant ideas of yours won’t vaporize. :)

  7. Occasionally I’ll wake up in the night and have new insights, but when I lay down I fall asleep immediately. When I wake, I automatically push all thoughts aside and pray in order to start my day on the right path. The times I get my best ideas or resolve the toughest problems are when I’m cleaning. Doing dishes, sweeping the floor–anything mindless that I hate doing–those things cause my brain to disconnect from reality and focus on whatever is bothering me.

    • I’ve also had insights come to me while doing something unrelated like dishes. I suppose this should inspire me to clean more often, but like you I don’t particularily like doing house chores.

      Nice to have you back, Carol. :)

  8. Yes, I’ve no sooner gotten comfortable when, Zing! An idea hits and I grab the pen and paper at bedside. Many times the urge to write is so strong, that I get up and go do it.


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