Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The Insecure Writer and a Lack of Quality Mind Wandering Time
Today is November's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?
Because of the worry that my source of ideas may be running out..
The past several months have been pretty busy, especially October, which is my excuse for not having posted here the last couple of weeks. I suspect laziness played some part too, but that’s another story. And the little time I had left was spent critting. This lack of time didn’t bother me too much. I knew as soon as things lightened up and I had a chance to sit down in front of a computer again, I’d jump back into posting and critting and writing again as if I’d never been away.
What really worried me was my lack of quality time for generating new ideas. Turns out my best ideas come to me when I’m in the shower, or driving to and from work, or taking walks by myself—basically the times when my mind can free-associate. It’s the part of writing I’ve always enjoyed the most. Just allowing my mind to wander and letting those ideas come pouring in. Getting them down on paper is the hard part.
But as I’ve learned these past couple of months, these ideas only come when my mind can wander around guilt-free. If there’s something else I know I should be thinking about, like the next day’s lecture for the chemistry class I teach, or the homework I should be grading, or the next meeting of robotics class I’m coaching, or projects I should be doing at home—the ideas just don’t come. When I know there are other things I should be thinking about, concentrating on my story is hard. And it had been such a long time since I’d had any new good ideas, I worried that maybe the ideas weren’t going to come anymore.
Fortunately, I've discovered this will not be a problem. My plate is still pretty full, but I’ve been able to work up a schedule that allows me to fulfill all my obligations and still leaves me with a few hours of guilt-free mind wandering time. And the ideas are beginning to return. Thank goodness!
Finally, an Insecure Writer’s post that ends on a happy note.