My mind likes to wander, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The trouble is when the mind acts like an errant child running off when there’s a task to be done. Interestingly, that happens the most when I need write. Seems it wants to do a hundred things first before sitting down and facing the keyboard.
And when I finally sit down, my mind refuses to cooperate and stubbornly goes blank. It’s not Writer’s Block nor is it lack of direction. It’s just that my mind doesn’t want to work, doesn’t want to agonize over the right word, doesn’t want to come up with a creative paragraph that basically says “He then went to the [wherever].”
So I have to coax my brain into writing mode. What sometimes gets the words flowing is reading Chinese Buddhist Poetry.
Like this one by HanShan:
Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there’s been no rain
The pine sings, but there’s no wind.
Who can leap the world’s ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?
If that doesn’t work then I turn to The Chinese Art of Writing. I find the section on the various style of poetry to be inspiring.
At the present moment I have to write a battle scene. Having never been in a battle since I was a kid growing up in the Bronx, never mind a battle during the Crusades, I haven’t a clue where to start. But then I remembered something I saw in a Gore Vidal interview. He stated that the best action writer he knows of is Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote the Tarzan series. Really? So, I found some excerpts and yeah, Vidal was right. Even these many years later his action sequences draw you in. Check it out for yourself. Tarzan of the Apes.
Of course, there are times my mind refuses to play along. I need new enticements to wake up the hamster to turn the wheel and spew out some really good words.
So, fellow writers, what works for you?