Cleaning Your Mind

Not that way, y’all. I’m not saying you’re dirty minded or anything. What I mean is sometimes we need to…empty our minds of well, crap. Kind of like that housekeeping I keep putting off.

This idea came to me while I was pounding away at the keyboard last week. I wasn’t working on the story I’m so determined to finish. No, instead, I was writing on a story I’d put aside a couple of months ago. I wasn’t planning to touch it again until Izzy’s story was finished, but I’ve been struggling with Izzy lately.

See, I’m so close to the end (only 30k to go) that I’m starting to pull weird ideas out of nowhere that have nothing to do with my story. I’m plugging in scenes I don’t really want in the story, but feel compelled to write anyway and I can’t seem to help myself! That’s why I decided that I would leave Izzy alone and work on something else so I don’t screw her story up too much.

Think of it like cleaning your palate. If you eat sushi, then you know that there are little piles of gari (or ginger) served with your rolls. The gari is there to cleanse your palate between rolls so you can really taste all the flavors. I personally don’t use it. I’m a mish-mash kind of girl, but the same principle applies to scents.

The Scentsy stuff my cousin is selling has…well, at least a hundred scents and if you sit down to smell them all, your brain starts screaming at you to STOP! So she keeps little tins of fresh coffee beans in her kit. The coffee beans clean your…nostrils? Olfactory nerves? I don’t know, but they do revive my sense of smell which means I can get right back to giving myself a headache with more scents.

I think the same thing applies to writing. I try to finish one project at a time, but when I start meandering away from my plot, I find that moving onto something else helps me figure out what I’m doing wrong. Does that make sense? It’s like when I see myself changing the way my characters think, or how the story takes a very unexpected turn, I know I’m having a problem. So instead of pulling out the meditation mat and lighting incense, I start/work on another story.

This isn’t a throw away story either. It’s something I want to write, but haven’t really plotted out. I toss out all the thoughts that are going through my mind that don’t fit in with my primary project and once I’ve written about five thousand words, I can get back to the regularly scheduled program. Is that weird? It’s okay if it is.

This is just my way of cleaning out the cluttered thoughts trying to escape into my main manuscript. I’m not saying you should do this, but it might be something to think about if you’re having trouble staying on track and you still want to write something. Instead of adding 10k words to your story that you know are going to come out later, throw them on another manuscript idea and let the words flow. Then, when those ideas filter out, get back to your first manuscript. It might help.

7 Comments

Filed under Writing

7 responses to “Cleaning Your Mind

  1. Great post. It’s important to clear out the mind once in a while for sure. If I get ideas while writing a different story, I have to write them down quick, but mostly I try to stay focused on the story at hand until it’s done. But I can’t always do that. . . LOL

  2. Doug Oldfield

    I’ve done the same thing and it works really well. The problem with it is when you get so interested in the new story you can’t stop until it’s finished.

    • Yeah, that can be a problem, but I usually start running into plot/character problems, so give up after a while. Then I go back to the main idea and hash out the real problems I have with it and it feels fresh again!

  3. I know exactly what you’re saying here. I’m working on a short novella right now because novel 2 has me stumped. This is a great way to step back and take a look at the situation on a whole. I hate when I push through and demolish a great story.

  4. Pingback: The Fire Inside « Unearthly Musings

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