When You Get on a Writing Roll

I’m taking a quick break from drafting to check in with you today. Yes, you heard me right. I’m drafting… and I’m on a roll!! I’ve written over 3,000 words since yesterday. It may not sound like much, but after having a hard time getting my head into this story, it’s BIG for me! I’ll get to at least 20,000 words by the end of this week—close to the 1/3 way mark. Yay!

Being on a writing roll is crazy. I don’t know about you, but for me I literally live and breathe the story when it happens to me. The characters sort of hover in my head. It’s almost like they’re floating above it. I see them laughing or fighting and can almost hear their banter. Images of the setting flash around in my head too like I’m scrolling through pictures on my phone. But all the while, I’m forcing myself to be cruel to these crazy kids, to come up with obstacles that can trip my them up and trip them up hard. It’s a lot to think about even when I’m not sitting down at the computer.

It’s hard to think about other things while a story is taking shape in your mind. Sure you can go about the mundane daily tasks of your life, but your story is never far away. Cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry are easy because you can think about plot while you’re doing those. The best ideas come while our minds are free to wander. Work isn’t even the biggest challenge for most of us while in draft mode either because then we’re forced to switch gears and focus on something else completely.

The biggest challenge I personally have when drafting is when people want to talk to me. Like in person or on the phone. Sometimes I feel like a character in a Peanuts cartoon. Their voices get all swirly and mushy and I can barely listen to what they have to say. And I can’t believe they don’t understand why I can’t focus on what they’re saying or why I don’t want to continue a long winded conversation. I’m creating a whole story in my head. That takes a lot of creative brainwork. Don’t they get it??

Of course, they don’t. Unless they’ve written a book too, they simply can’t understand what it feels like on a daily basis to be on a writing roll, to be crafting a story from start to finish.

I’ve gotten calls from my mom lately asking if I’m alright. She wonders why I haven’t been chatty lately, because it seems like something’s wrong. And I have to tell her, “Nothing is wrong. I’ve just had a lot on my mind. I’m in the middle of drafting a new story and it’s kind of all consuming right now.”

I cringe as I write that because that makes me sound like a work- a-holic or someone who doesn’t have a good work-life-home balance. But maybe I don’t. At least not when I’m on a writing roll anyway. But being on a roll is amazing. The ideas come quickly and furiously. The characters become human. They make choices. The conflict develops  and the stakes can be felt clearly. But most of all, being on a roll means that words are appearing on the pages that used to be white—so blank.

So I’ll enjoy being on this writing roll while it lasts. With a little luck—and the ability to keep other distractions at bay, the words will keep coming. And I hope they keep coming for you too.

Do you have any thoughts on drafting? I bet your experience is a little like mine, but in some ways very different. Please share! We’d love to know what it’s like for you. They say writing loves company…well actually no one says that but maybe they should because writers do love company!

Have a fantastic week, my friends! I’ll check in with you again soon. 🙂

Jackie

4 thoughts on “When You Get on a Writing Roll

  1. Julie Grasso says:

    Love it Jackie. These days I’m having a roll day when I manage to write 600 words. I could of course write all day but the little people in the house seem to want to eat all the time lol. I find my best time is early morning and I use dragon dictate to get those words on the page. I hope to read your published books one day hurrahh. Keep rolling…..

    • swirlandspark says:

      Hey Julie! Thanks for reading:) I totally get you. Families want to eat…all the time! Wait until yours get to be teenagers. I have a daughter who’s a healthy (picky) eater and a son who eats everything in sight! A personal chef would be sooo nice. It’s hard to find the time to write when people rely on you for things. lol 600 words is a solid accomplishment. Many days that’s big for me too. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I need to get my hands on your books on of these days Frankie DuPont looks like a great character…and Escape from the Forbidden Planet looks especially good! 🙂

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