For my pseudo-NaNoWriMo project, I've been spending lots of time with Butt in Chair, or BIC, as Mary Ann calls it. I've discovered something interesting. Often, when I first sit down at the computer, I have no idea what I'm going to write about next or where the story will go. Those days usually start with me tweaking what I did the day before, trying to add sensory details to make the scene come alive. Then, somewhere along the way, inspiration kicks in and I'm soon typing away. As L'Engle says, the story starts telling me where to go. I know the inspiration wouldn't have come along if I hadn't been sitting there, listening, Butt in Chair.
Unfortunately, there's no magic formula. As Mary Ann said in her post, some days, even when we glue our butts to the chair, the words don't come. That's when I usually try taking the old gluteus maximus for a walk. As Julia Cameron says in The Artist's Way: "A brisk twenty-minute walk can dramatically alter consciousness." That altered consciousness often helps me hear what I couldn't when I was sitting in my chair.
Over the last few days, I've fallen behind in my word count goals for my project, and no matter how I tried, the words just wouldn't come. When that happened again today, I took a walk and thought about my story. As I walked, it occurred to me that much of the tension had leaked out of the story. Why? Because I'd made things too easy for my character. I needed to go back and change events so that she'd have to work harder to get what she wanted. Aha!
I know from experience that taking a walk doesn't always yield dramatic "aha" moments. But at least it helps keep my gluteus maximus from getting too big for the chair. :-)
I'm keeping this post short so I can get back to my novel-writing now.
Happy writing, all!
P.S: I forgot to mention: there's a great book giveaway going on over at the MotherReader blog. Enter to win one of two sets of 25 books!