So I’ve got a personal deadline looming, a ton of writing to do, and what do I do? Go camping for the weekend, of course.
But one of the most important things about writing is the downtime. My best ideas have never come to me whilst sat at the computer waiting for inspiration, but when doing other stuff, typically driving (although it’s different for different folks). And so it’s important to try and balance my life so that I do have what I call “thinking time”, although it’s not so much thinking as “time to allow the brain to unwind”.
Last year, I made the mistake whilst working on a first draft of cancelling all my free time. All social engagements were cancelled, my normal weekend walking days were given over to writing and I had a pretty miserable existence for a month. With hindsight I went too far, to the extent that my enforced solitude became a hindrance rather than a help.
And therein lies the problem. There are times when you really need to just knuckle down and get on with it, and times where a trip to the shops or watching TV will give your brain time to relax and untie that plot knot you’ve been worrying about.
Of course, you’ll con yourself. You’ll say you need more “thinking time” because you’re still waiting for the muse, and as we know, the muse doesn’t exist (at least not in those instances). So far better to have pre-arranged social engagements that you work around. Guaranteed they’ll come when you think “Gah! I could have written an extra 10k this weekend if I’d been home” but truth is you probably would not have.
My camping trip didn’t really offer me much insight, just mild heat stroke and a banging headache due to the weather, but now I know today I need to knuckle down and get a lot more words done. Deadline is looming!