3 Things…That Turn Mush into Material (or at least something less mush-like)

Our theme this week is to write about three things in our daily lives that inspire us to write. I’ve spent most of the day with my kids, running around town and doing summery things to keep us all mentally engaged and only mildly aware of the thermometer creeping higher. As I type this, the younger is chasing the older around the kitchen table, yelling, “Give me that red light saber!” Soon, my husband will arrive home from work and it will be my time to hide away in my office and write. There’s a problem, though.

My brain is full of mush.

Wait. Let me double-check. (*bumps side of head with hand*) Yep. Just gelatinous sloshing at this point.

So, what am I going to do in the next half-hour or so to get my brain back into writing shape?

1. Unplug

Even though it’s hot outside (current temp is a crisp 107°), I’ll go sit on my patio and listen to…well…nothing for a while. Sometimes, I have a difficult time jumping right into the chair and my desk and writing. Sometimes, I have to unplug from the noise (television, music, chattering children, hum of the A/C) to get in touch with my own thoughts. Since my writing time is limited, I don’t always have the luxury of just sitting and being still. But when I get the opportunity, I take it.

2. Daydream

Once I’m away from the noise and can hear my own thoughts again, I’ll think about the project I’m working on right now, the chapter I left half-written yesterday. I’ll think of the story overall, assess how it’s going and make a mental list of what needs work. Then I’ll set the current scene in my mind so it’s clear and ready for when I sit to write. Not so much time spent at the desk, waiting to get into the groove that way.

3. Set the tone

Finally, once I sit to write, I’ll put in my ear buds and pick a song that fits the scene I’m working on. Then I’ll play that song on repeat as I write. It sounds crazy–and maybe it is–to listen to the same song over and over, but eventually I don’t hear the song anymore. All I hear is the tone, the energy, of the song and that infuses my writing. I prefer to write in silence, but remember, I have these kids who can get pretty loud. (As I type this, they’re running around upstairs, which means I need to wrap this up and get them going on something creative and engaging.) The ear buds help drown out the house noise. The song retreating to white noise sets the tone but keeps me from being distracted by the words or changing tunes.

On a good day, these three things will work together to put me in a mindset to get words onto the page and the story told. Here’s hoping today is a good day.

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