Are any of you what I call kinetic writers? I find that I have trouble sitting still for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a stretch, then as soon as I finish a particular passage I have to get up and walk around. I’ll go down the hall and use the bathroom or look out the window for a minute or just get up and walk around the room for a minute before I sit back down and jump back into the writing. I haven’t figured out yet whether this is slowing me down or helping the neurons to fire. Obviously, there is time lost in all this moving about, but it’s like sitting and writing builds up a static charge and I have to get up and release it. I don’t have a choice. The charge builds faster if I am doing a more intense part of the story, like somehow the prose are loaded with their own electrical potential and it courses back through the keyboard and into my body as the words flow out…conservation of energy or something. It causes me to have to get up more frequently when the story is really hopping or getting more spirited.
The Ants-in-the-Pants syndrome. It’s a good sign for me though, that I am doing impassioned work. Something is clicking in the story and I am on a roll, so I really don’t mind, and the interruption is brief, just a quick burst of energy blown off, like letting your gun barrel cool off after firing several magazine loads. I don’t know any other way, if I am in a place where I can’t get up frequently the charge builds up and creates a buffer of sorts that slows down the words coming out. I have to stop and do something else for a few minutes until the buffer clears.
I’m envious of you people than can sit and churn out a thousand words an hour. Maybe someday I’ll get where I can do that regularly. But I don’t type that well to start with and I have the attention span of a gnat. I’ve hit that baseline a few times, but it’s probably more common to do half that amount.
I’ve also gotten in the practice of writing down ideas and even leaving verbal notes to myself on my iPhone, because I know I’ll forget otherwise and my colander-like brain will drop that nugget of info right out and no matter how hard I try I won’t be able to dredge it up from the recesses of the trash compactor in my head.
In the meantime, I’ll just get a little extra exercise every quarter hour I reckon, and keep churning out words like a turtle after a caterpillar.