I had a bit of a writing/story breakthrough this weekend—at the gym, of all places. See, I’ve recently ditched my workout buddies in favor of some quality “me” time during my workouts. Not to mention that working out with one of my friends typically involves more chatting and catching up than real exercise. So an hour at the gym alone is much more productive than an hour with a buddy. Hooray for efficiency!
Since I don’t have an iPod strapped to my arm (I’d end up singing along, and I don’t want to be “that guy”), I find the gym’s great for clearing my head and thinking things through, writing ideas included. Cardio is a pretty mindless activity (unless I’m doing interval training, oh goodness, I need to start another blog */em grin*), which leaves 95% of my brain to mull over and muse on whatever I fancy. And for the time being, that fancy is my manuscript-in-progress.
I don’t know how unconventional this method of finding think time is, or the fact that I even feel compelled to schedule (to use the term loosely) time to plan my story and thoughts. That’s partially why I’m rambling about it today. I struggle with just sitting down at my laptop and thinking about my story. Perhaps it stems from some self-imposed guilt around time management, like I should be snatching up pockets of contemplation while doing other activities, since a full-time job and the semblance of a social life already impose enough on my desire to put my e-pen to e-paper. When I block out time to sit down and write, I want as much of that time spent increasing my word count meaningfully.
So for you writers out there, do you mix your thinking time with writing time? Do you have designated time away from your home or laptop (whether dedicated specifically or merged with another activity, like gym time)? Or do you just dive right into your writing stream-of-consciousness style? (I’m incapable of that last one. It scares me too much!)