Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

Here’s a writing tip that’s my personal favorite — creative napping


Remember those long ago days of preschool or kindergarten? Those days when life held a quiet nap on most afternoons, followed perhaps by recess? I’m talking about all those things that appeal to us even more as adults — and which we rarely have time for anymore.

No, if anything, as adults we probably get far too little sleep, too little quiet and rest. We do far too much worrying and far too little relaxing. (I was reading somewhere recently that some European nations require employers to give their employees FIVE WEEKS paid vacation annually. I wanna live there.) Which means, among other things, that our mental energy and creativity suffers.

As a professional writer who has spent most of his career facing deadlines, I’ve learned to write what I need to write when I need to write it, with little regard to “creativity.” Or I should say, I’m discovering daily that “creativity” is often another word for “necessity” — I’m required to write something on deadline (necessity), so I do it.

But I’ll be the first to agree that some writing only works if you have the energy and that spark of a new idea to sustain you and give you the words to put on paper. When I’m working on something like that — generally a novel or fiction writing of some sort — and the words and ideas just aren’t coming, I fall back on my favorite writing/creative thinking tip.

I walk through that bedroom door, flip on my favorite “Rippingtons” CD, turn the volume down low, stretch out on the old queen-sized bed, and take a nap. A creative nap, of course.

I’m serious about that part — the “creative nap” part I call it. I first learned of such an idea from an old friend of my (Hi, Frank) who has written and published more than 130 Western and series novels. By creative nap, I mean holding the characters and plot action which have me stumped in my mind as I drift off to sleep. Not obsessing or struggling with them, just letting them hang around in my head, watching me relax and nap. The little devils hate it when they’re trying to harass or harangue me and I smile up at them perched there on the headboard, give ’em a wink, and doze off.

Okay, I don’t really see tiny story characters sitting on my headboard. They sort of do more of a sulk and pace back and forth impatiently.

You get the idea — take a nap. Put the writing that’s frustrating you aside and relax. In the first place, what generally happens is that you wake up and something new and different may strike you that works. And, failing any progress, you’ll at least feel more rested and be more capable of putting the stuck storyline behind you for other writing projects.
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