Writing, like eel-wrangling, is a slippery business. You get in there with the best of intentions, and before you know it, everything is wriggling off in all directions.
What, you didn’t know Ro’mama had extensive eel-wrangling experience? My darlings, the things I have in my past would fill several books. At least, I hope they will, since I am mining my ill-spent youth for the Southern humorous women’s fiction I am currently writing.
So, yes, having grown up next door to my Grandma’s fish bait store, I have some experience with eels. You will be able to read all about eels, catwaba worms, and feral cats in my new WIP, tentatively titled HOOK, LINE AND SINKER.
But why is writing like herding eels? Because every time I sit down to get my butt in the actual chair and my hands on the keyboard, I start dithering. Proscrastinating. Mentally wandering.
And the problem is, a certain amount of that is necessary for writing. You have to daydream, to visualize your characters in their scenes. You have to research the little facts that will set the accuracy police on your trail. (When DOES one harvest catawba worms in NW Florida?) YOu have to do a lot of staring out into space as you hunt for just the right word to get the nuance your character needs.
But from there, it is a straight shot down the slippery slope to surfing the web for LOLCats and cute shoes, and the next thing you know, you’ve spent 4 hours and 17 minutes on Pinterest and haven’t written a syllable.
So I am a bit reluctant to share today’s little morsel of Muse fuel — it can do wonderful things for your creativity, but like crack cocaine or hot Krispy Kreme donuts, you have to know when to say when.
I’m talking StumbleUpon. It’s a nifty litte app that lets you create an account & enter your interests, and then it will feed you a steady diet of internet stuff you will like. As you vote yes or no on the pages it gives you, it refines its understanding of your tastes — mine now knows me better than my DH of 28 years!
I told it I like humor, Southern, fashion, writing, and a few other topics, and now all I have to do is hit my stumble button and something funny, Southern-fried, fashionable or literary (or a combination thereof) pops right onto my screen. I started with it on the laptop, but there is an iphone app so you can stumble on the fly, too.
Now, a word of warning: be careful with StumbleUpon. You really can lose yourself in it. But I use it to feed my dear Muse, Bridget, as follows:
Set yourself a time limit or word count that you will achieve. Hit stumble. Now, whatever comes up, write about it til you hit your goal. I use it in conjunction with Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die, and force myself to be creative.
Since StumbleUpon knows what you like, you will get a topic you are interested in. If it’s too hard to write about the first thing that comes up, you can vary the rules slightly and give yourself choice of 3. But no more than that, or you are on the road to websurfing damnation.
Try stumbling a bit, and let me know what you think! Bridget loves it almost as much as she loves tortilla chips and guacamole.