- I reread what I have written so far and hope to get pulled in by the bread crumbs I left behind the last time I closed the computer. This does not always work as sometimes I am in a hurry and forget to leave the crumbs.
- I lay down on the couch and tell myself to take a nap. I think about the story and wait for the lights in my head to go out. As a sleeping technique, this never works. My characters immediately sit up and start talking. I start eavesdropping, and then off to the computer I slink hoping nobody notices.
- I get on the treadmill (a real one, jeesh) and just think about what is going on in the current scene. By the time the first ten minutes have gone by, I am dying to get off and start writing, but I have an unwritten contract that states I must remain on the treadmill the full twenty minutes. That gets me my workout and a real desire to write. Sometimes three scenes will unfold in front of me, and I do everything I can to hold on while I work from scene to scene.
- I tell my daughter the problem. She recommends a solution which causes me to explain why that just won't work though I assure her it is a fine suggestion. By the time I am done explaining, I know just what I need to write. I hope I am not destroying her confidence. Hmm, better talk to her about that one.
- I send my best writing bud Marcy an email, usually vaguely worded. After we toss a few clarifying comments back and forth, things start to rev up in the muse department. Marcy's great.
- If these fail, or I forget to do them, I sit at the computer and say, "Just write whatever is falling out. Something is bound to be useful." And that's what I do. Write, write, write until I am limber, and then I write a whole lot more. This is the there is no-time-to-take-a-nap, ask another person, no-crumbs-left-behind approach. Just sit down and type.
How do you limber up? Are you a consummate planner, a panster by practice, or do you fight with the wordsmith every time you sit down to work? How do you make sure you pull the narrative out of the bag?