When aren't you writing?
Yes, it is a serious question.
And before you attempt to answer it, let me ask you another question,
the answer to which will give you the solution.
What is the writer's single most important tool?
Computer? Dictionary? The Internet? A Thesaurus? A good education?
Peace and quiet? Time? Dedication? Patience? Application? Persistence?
Determination? A hammer? (Just wanted to see if you were still
Answer. The one thing that is unique and inimitable to each and every
one of us: the human mind. Your very own personal conscious and
It belongs to only you, and what it contains and continues to gather
with every passing moment is the source of all your perception: memories,
responses, experience and emotion.
Within your mind are the vast library vaults of intelligence that
contribute to making you who you are.
And one very important section is labelled 'Imagination'.
And in 'Imagination' are other subsections: the abilities of the
imagination to manifest pathos, humour, violence, subtlety, inspiration,
So the list continues.
From The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.
The action of imagining, or forming a mental concept of what is not
actually present to the senses. The result of this, a mental image or
Scheming or devising; a device, scheme, plot: a fanciful project.
That faculty of the mind by which we conceive the absent as if it were
present. The 'reproductive imagination'.
The power which the mind has of forming concepts beyond those derived
from external objects. The 'productive imagination'.
The creative faculty; poetic genius.
The operation of the mind; thinking; thought, opinion.
Imagination is the well from which we draw inspiration.
The answer to the question, 'When aren't you writing?' is, 'Almost
The reason is, 'Because the mind is almost always sentient.'
In other words, you don't need anything else but your mind, to create.
Oh yeah, a pencil and paper helps to get the end product down, but that
is just the end product.
When did I begin to conceive this article? Probably many years ago,
perhaps all my life.
When did I consider committing it to print? Two, maybe three, months
And the next article? That has been swirling around in the ether for a
couple of months.
Could I write it now? Yes. Because it's all in the 'Mind-planning.'
I already know what it will be about and how I am going to present it.
However, there are such things as priority. And priority is yet another
part of the organization of writing.
When aren't you writing?
During your waking hours you can, and must, be working.
Constructing, planning, inventing, rejecting, re-thinking are all an
ongoing process that will take you to the keyboard or the typewriter with
something ready to say.
Sitting at a blank sheet of paper, or a keyboard, waiting for
inspiration is (at this point I sigh, because so many people say to
themselves, 'I have set aside this time to write and now nothing is
happening',) a waste of time. Go and mow your lawn or bottle fruit. You
will produce more from the mind by doing that than perching on a stool and
staring at nothing.
You can do this through the days, at almost all times, because you have
the ability to do more than a single thing at once.
There are, of course, times that require your complete concentration:
driving, attending your children, working with power tools, to name a few.
But while you're peeling the beans, washing the car, cleaning the
house, showering, sitting on the toilet/john/privy/, changing the
diaper/nappy/liner, while you're doing...
(I am now leaving this project, because I have other pressing things to
do. And if I hadn't told you and simply deleted this note, you would not
be aware that I had picked up again in a day or three. I will have,
however, been thinking all the while.)
...many other basic tasks, your mind can, and should be functioning on
another level. Not the kind of romantic clap-trap where you have to be
severely shaken to bring you out of your author's reverie, but the sort of
orderly thinking that can be interrupted constantly and yet still focus
and be productive.
That is where much of the work of broad construction is achieved.
Later, it will be time to do the research and iron out the details that
will finally become text.
So okay, when aren't you writing?
When you're asleep? You aren't writing then, right!
Dreams are often a great source of inspiration and if you can capture
those fleeting visions before they vanish like so many brightly coloured
birds, you can build on the shimmering foundations of the subconscious.
That's why it always pays to carry a small notepad and pen with you and
leave it on your bedside table at night. That one inspirational thought or
detail or answer to a question can be lost because you failed to do this,
and have forgotten by morning.
What about when you're involved in (how can I put this delicately) SEX!
Subtle? No. Alright.
They say that sex is eighty percent mind and twenty percent body.
(That's what THEY say, and who am I to argue.) And if that's the case,
then there must be some pretty lasting cerebral impressions.
All grist to your mill, especially if you're writing a Mills and Boon
And this is where I think it is time to leave it to your 'IMAGINATION.'
Next month the article is titled 'Tips, Two-Handers,
Three-handers-plus, Sentiment, and Cameos.'
And it breaks my heart to say it, but I'm out of time again.
Consarn. Just had another thought...Oh well...
Editor - Australia