I feel like I got absolutely nothing done this past weekend. I spent most of my time reading, playing games, and reconnecting with music that I haven’t listened to in years. I even spent some time filming at a site for work that I am not counting towards my weekly hours, because I had personal errands to run in that part of the county anyway. But overall, I made no progress on any of my creative projects.
Does this mean my weekend was wasted? That depends on who you ask.
Some writers will tell you that time spent reading can be counted as research, and I’ll agree with that sentiment to a certain extent. Reading to learn from other writers’ styles and storytelling can help some writers improve their own writing. However, I don’t find sentence-crafting or pace-setting to be any easier for me after spending time with a good book than it was prior to reading. The only thing that helps me with those things is to actually write, to practice putting words on a page and to read back my own prose several times over during the writing process. This can make it difficult to ignore my inner critic and editor, but I’ve learned to work with them rather than try to silence them altogether.
Once I get back to story crafting during my limited weekday free time, I know my weekend hours spent listening to music will have had a much deeper impact on my writing than the time I spent reading. I enjoy listening to soundtracks and thematic music while working on character and plot development. I’ll sit and play the same track on repeat for an hour or more at times, basking in the complexities of harmonies and rhythms, allowing the flow or pound of the music to help me plan out scenes and settings and the emotions of my characters. I’ll play those same tracks again while I’m writing out those scenes, and as my mind picks apart the music, I’ll remember details I wanted to include in the descriptions of the actions and reactions of my characters. Music helps me to create a much fuller picture with my prose.
So perhaps my weekend wasn’t as wasted as I believe. While I didn’t get any new words put down on a page (or cropped and edited any photos or performed work on any of my other numerous projects), I did spend time in exercising my imagination. Many writers will give you advice on how to make progress with your writing. I’m no different. But the best advice I can give you is to develop a process that works for you. Find the things that spark your imagination and spend time with them. Figure out what methods help you best in getting words onto a page and follow that method. Don’t be afraid to develop your own practices when it comes to editing and rewriting your drafts. As long as you’re making progress in creating a finished, polished story you can take pride in, you’re not doing anything wrong.
Author’s Note: I may not post a written blog next week as I will be participating in the 2018 GISHWHES Hunt. I will try to post something, however. Please wish luck and creativity on me and my teammates!