When I set goals for myself, I have a tendency to over do it. Let’s just say that my t0-do list has a tendency to look like a six year-olds Christmas list. Most weeks it is two plus columns long.
More often than not, I’m working on multiple projects at a time. This week I’m reworking the outline on my young adult SF so that next week I can get some writing done. I finished the research on and drafted a picture book. I pitched a manuscript to an agent and came up with a query for a magazine. And I still have a devotional to write.
When I have this much going on, I have a tendency to spend too much time at my desk. Yes, yes. It is rather obvious. If I’m going to get that stuff done, I need to put my butt in the my chair and write.
But to get ready to work on something new, whether it’s a picture book draft or a query, I need to spend some time away from my desk. I call it pre-writing because it is something that HAS to happen before I write. It is part movement and activity and part-time to let my mind wander. Because of this, it helps if it is something not particularly brainy.
Walking is good. Rowing is good. But the best of all may very well be yoga class. Why yoga class and not just yoga? Because in class, Leslie puts us through our paces for 1 hour. I can’t hurry through relaxation or skip a pose that I don’t much like. There’s accountability.
That said, me being me, although we are supposed to be present and not let our minds wonder, that’s pretty much what happens. I’ll be stretching up with one hand in triangle and then my brain says, “Hey, I’ve got the perfect transition into the next picture book spread.” Just as I’m exhaling into a bend, the best possible way to describe my character is suddenly THERE. Lucky for me, Leslie knows all about wandering minds. “When you mind strays, and it will happened, just gently draw it back.”
And once I’m done with whatever physical activity I was able to work in, I am much more capable of sitting down to write. After twenty minutes or half an hour, my mind may start to wonder but I simply draw it back to the task at hand. After all, I’ve worked off enough energy to focus and I have a solution or three ready to apply.