February 21, 2011

How do you do it?

Have you ever been in that awful writing slump where you just can't find the words for, well, anything? Whether it's a simple description of a swirled lollipop or a mere "Hello!" exchanged between your characters? Or even just a name - that one character you just can't place, and without their identity, your story can't progress?

Or, hey, even something less complicated - like writing a blog post?

But then there's hope! You're working part-time, going to school, going to the gym, hanging out with friends, making sure to catch the latest GLEE episode, and suddenly it hits you: the words you've been looking for! But how are you going to get them down without forgetting? And why did they have to show up now, when you're incredibly busy and can't give them the attention they deserve?

Oh, but surely you can do it! Look at J.K. Rowling, who wrote bits of Harry Potter on napkins. If she can do it, so can you! But you don't have any napkins. So you'll have to improvise. You don't have a pen, either. You've got your bag and your white chocolate mocha latte, and you're on the move.

And then another thing hits you: your phone! Of course, you can use your phone to store your inspiration! You text furiously, going going going, while everyone around you asks if you're writing a novel to someone. Why yes, you are. In fact, that is exactly what you're doing. You are writing a novel and sending it to yourself. You hit send and suddenly you're relieved. You didn't lose it. You found the words and you didn't lose them.

However, the next time you sit down to write, you either forget about having texted such brilliant work to yourself, or it's no longer useful to you and you've moved on. It's a major catch-22.

To make a long story short, this is what typically happens to me. Sometimes I wish I didn't prefer typing over handwriting, so I'd be more motivated to carry a notebook around with me to store ideas. But no, I use my phone. I have racked up around thirty six texts to myself, including various ideas for names, plots, and even small snippets of poetry - all of which I never incorporate in whatever story I may be working on at the time.

But what about you? How do you get the words out? Do you use your phone? Or do you carry that nifty little notebook (but then how do you carry that delicious latte?)?


  1. Sounds like what I do! I write scenes on my phone (thank God for blackberries!) and then send em to myself, or I'll just keep writing the rest of the chapter on there and send it by email when I'm finished. When my phone dies, though, I have a back-up: a mini notebook. I keep one in every bag, so I always have it handy. :)

  2. This is what happens to me every time I am on the bus to school. EVERY SINGLE TIME! And I can't text or write (because I'm hanging on for dear life) and so I keep on thinking about it hoping it lingers. It never does. I like writing by hand (i've filled books with stories) so I wouldn't mind just writing but, like you said, there is no time for real writing. =\

  3. I'm a handwriter - if I can't find any inspiration, I find a pen and a blank sheet of paper so much more inspiring than anything else. I almost always have at least a sheet of paper, if not a notebook, where I jot little notes to myself about what I want to write later - I have whole stories written in the margins of the notes from my Latin and Music History courses from two years ago!

  4. I am a hand-writer so I do bring a small notepad with me everywhere. Sometimes the back of receipts, too! If nothing else, then I text to myself and write/type it out later!


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