My writing spot is positioned in the corner of the living room. There are two windows nearby, both with curtains drawn. I’m getting better at opening them during the day to let light in. My wife has made claims that I’m a caveman who hates the sun; which is mostly true. I grew up in the desert where the sun tried to kill you every day. Being in the North East where sunlight is at a premium and Vitamin D could traded for gas or bullets in the impending societal collapse, I have had to adjust.
The other reason I keep the curtains drawn is that I fear my neighbors wouldn’t understand what they see. When I write I can get rather animated. I’ll use my arms to hold imaginary things, I read aloud in multiple voices for my characters and when I get stuck I can pace around the room to act out the scene. This can either be a simple action like walking through a door or getting on the bus and turning to see someone unexpected. At other times I can be seen blocking out a fight scene in among the scattered toys.
These are tricks I’ve done as long as I can recall in building the scenes to my work. I didn’t have neighborhood friends when I was growing up, the location didn’t allow for it. The nearest kid my age was across a one-lane highway that 18-wheelers liked to thunder down; they used to rock the house so much that the movement would put me to sleep. What I lacked in friends I made up for in imagination… and a trampoline.
Countless fall and spring days were spent telling stories and having adventures on that wonderful deathtrap. Why only spring and fall? Three reasons:
1. Jumping during the winter was out of the question.
2. Shoes weren’t allowed.
3. I swear my feet smelled like hamburger if I jumped on it during the summer.
I found out in later years that my neighbors across the way and classmates who happened to drive by were rather amused to see me acting out whatever adventure I was on that day. Back then it was popping me into the plot of whatever show I watched that day (Mighty Morphing Power Rangers) to insert my OC. I still remember those stories. Looking back I’m a little proud of what I created. It wasn’t just some INSERT COLOR Ranger but an actual original character that just kind of interacted with them on occasion. My imagination has always been active and I’m proud to admit that even after ‘growing up’ it is still chugging along. It fuels my projects and stories turning a simple line of text into dialogue with an associated voice.
Why am I sharing this?
Simple. Without your imagination your writing stagnates. Sure, Google and coffee can help pound out a word count but a story that you love comes from that little voice your childhood lived by.
-Read your story aloud.
Not only will it help your flow but it will help give your characters a voice.
-Act out the scene.
Your movements can help your visualization.
You’ve earned it and there’s always curtains.