Curling Up with a Good Book is featuring Desert Rising today, April 15h. This is the guest post I wrote for them.
I’m often asked how do you get inspired? How does a fantasy writer find all that crazy imaginary stuff to put down on paper? And – how do you deal with writer’s block? I can’t respond for any writer but myself because every brain, every imagination is different.
But for me, both answers are a type of focused daydream. That’s right, the thing teachers and parents told you to stop doing. Daydreaming and staring off into space are the most important things I can do to avoid writer’s block. I don’t even really get writer’s block – it just means that I haven’t taken enough time to imagine the scenes that need to be written and run them through in my moving picture mind in detail before sitting down to write. I am a visual person, so I need to run the “moving picture” of my scenes through my imagination before writing them down.
Today I was feeling “blocked” so I did what works best for me. I went for a walk by myself. My shaggy black pooch Sherlock gazed at his leash, then me, reproachfully, but I closed the door on him and left so I could unfocus and dream.
And here is where being a yoga teacher and learning meditation has aided me in writing. As I was walking to our local park, my brain started rummaging through the rubbish bin. Yoga teaching problems, class reunions, bills, all started running though my mind, with the accompanying imaginary conversations. I have had billions of conversation with people that never actually occurred in real life. And I have won all of them. Unlike meditation, where the goal is to completely quiet the mind – I used the same principles of breath and redirection to make my thoughts focused, one-pointed.
“Did you call Mom? Did you pay the bills?” my brain moaned.
I whispered back “Sulis, in the desert. Let’s go there right now.”
"Classes, should I do yoga workshops?" it whimpered.
"What's the Crone doing these days?" I asked it.
They call that constant chatter of voices in the brain “monkey-mind” in Buddhism - the way the mind jumps from subject to subject. Training the monkey to hold still is the goal of classical yoga and meditation. Gently guiding it again and again to where you need it to go is an achievement.
On this day, it took about a mile. Right about the time I usually circle back, I had a huge revelation that will set up the third novel. So I kept walking. And then another, so I turned another block. I’m certain the people I passed thought I was nuts as I whispered to myself and gestured.
“Sulis isn’t going to like that,” I shook my head, and turned towards home. It was time to write, to at least get this cascade of imaginings down in a few memory jostling paragraphs before they disappeared completely.
And that’s it. No magic really. Just a constant juxtaposition of unfocused gaze turning to focused typing, of the spaciness it takes to create turning to the focus needed to actually get it all down.
This is my blog tour schedule:
April 13 featured at 3 Partners in Shopping
April 15 Guest blogging Curling Up With a Good Book
April 16 Book featured at Confessions of a Reader Book reviewed at Forever Lost in Other Words
April 17 Book featured at Romance for Every World
April 19th Barren Island Books interview
April 20 Interview at Qwillery, Book featured at Chosen By You Book Club,
Book reviewed at A Novel Kind of Bliss
April 21 Interviewed at Examiner, Guest blogging at Bibliophilia, Please
April 22 Book excerpt at Reader Girls
April 23 Book excerpt at Review From Here
April 24 Book featured at Lover of Literature April 27 Interviewed at Literal Exposure
April 28 Guest blogging at I’m Shelf-ish
April 29 Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords
April 30 Guest blogging at The Revolving Bookshelf