I wrote my second novel, BIG MOUTH, in five months, during my triplets’ naps. The boys were just 12 – 17 months old in that period, and the darlings obliged my budding writing career by sticking to two naps a day, lasting a minimum of 1.5 hours each. Then the selfish little critters dropped their second nap and my writing output went in the dumper.
Since then it’s been a constant battle to squeeze in writing and freelance editing time, along with all the other duties that come with my new two-pronged career, promotion, creating ancillary materials, booking and preparing for and attending speaking engagements, blah, blah. And as for personal stuff like working out or preparing for a day with my trio, I get up before the sun even thinks about rising to fit all that in.
Today, though, I rediscovered one of my best writing tricks: Going for long walks. When the boys were small, I pushed them two-in-a-stroller-and-one-on-my-back six to eight miles a day. In those couple of hours of walking, there were frequent stretches of peaceful quiet. I’d use that time to mull my stories, creating scenes in my head and then calling my voicemail with the details. But when we phased out our evening walks and started letting the boys walk on their own feet instead of riding during their morning constitutionals, those long stretches of peaceful thinking disappeared. I’ve missed them greatly, personally as well as professionally. I really enjoyed letting my mind wander far from reality for a spell.
Today, though, I had a half-hour walk by myself, and the long stretch of peaceful thinking came running back to me like a long-lost dog. Scenes appeared in my brain, conversations reached my ears, plot points rolled up and over each other. It was glorious! The writing floodgates widened with each step, just like when the boys were little. Upon reaching my destination (Grandma’s empty house, just one mile from my own), I whipped out my laptop and wrote an entire story outline for a whole new novel. Just like that. It was amazing. And so incredibly refreshing. I’ve really needed one of these creative watersheds, and I’m feeling completely recharged by it.
Ooohhh! I can’t wait for tomorrow. It will be Saturday, and I’ve been promised the whole day to work. I’m eager and curious to see how quickly this new story fills in. And the characters…I can actually “hear” their conversations in my head and see them moving through the settings, so I suspect that they will flesh out smoothly. Oh, what fun to be in this writing place! I wonder if . . . wait, dare I say it? . . . do you think? . . . maybe? . . . Could I possibly write another novel in five months?
Oh, no, I didn’t just jinx myself, did I?
Well, what’s done is done. At least I know this, to have even a remote possibility of a fast and furious novel, I must work regular solo walks into my schedule. Because today’s walk reminded me of something very important, that is, that I do some of my best writing with my feet.