Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What I Learned About Writing by Spraining my Ankle

Three weeks ago today I sprained my ankle. It still occasionally feels stiff and sore, but I can wear cute shoes again and walk around the grocery store, so I'm almost back to normal. Except my normal has changed in dramatic ways. Here's one thing I learned from a sprained ankle.

I can write for hours. I really can. I remember the first time I wrote all day. It was awful. My head hurt, my bones ached, and the thought of sitting down at the computer the next day made me want to vomit. And I wrote 6,000 words. (Read about how to clear out brain fuzz here.)

These past few weeks, I've been writing about 5,000 a day painlessly. It takes me about three hours. Sometimes less. This is what I do:
1. To get in the zone, or flow, I reread what I wrote the day before. My first writing sprint is always the slowest. It just is, so I'm okay with that.
2. Disconnect from internet.
3. Lock dog and cat out of the room. They pretty much hate this, but do it anyway. You'll find them waiting for you on the other side of your door after your sprint.
4. Set a timer for one hour.
5. Write as fast as you can. No editing. No tweaking.
6. When you can't think of a word or something takes you out of the story, put a marker so that you'll know to come back to it. I use this @. When I'm editing, I'll do a search for them.
7. When the timer rings, check your word count, but most importantly get up and walk around. (Unless you have a sprained ankle, then do some hobbling, and eat some aspirin) Drink a glass of water. Check your phone and email. Do a chore.
8. Start again.

Today I may finish my yet to be named fairy tale and I can pretty much lay the blame on the uneven bit of sidewalk that brought me to my knees.

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