Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Finding Time

Oh, boy. I'm drowning over here. I have just started a new school semester, and I'm teaching something that a) I have never taught before and b) I don't even like. So I am up all night writing new lesson plans, trying to find something engaging in a topic that I personally detest. On top of that, I am about a month behind in catching up on crits for one critique group, I'm trying to think of ways to help keep my other crit group alive. I've just come off revising my manuscript, am submitting it around now--with all the stress that entails.

In short, I'm a bit burned out.

And yet yesterday, when I found myself with twenty free minutes of time, a story poured out from my fingers.

Why is it that when we feel as if we have no time for anything, that's when some of the best writing comes forth?

I think it's because as writers, we never really quit writing. Every situation I am in, every conversation I have, every experience I feel--that's all source material. I tell myself "what if" stories during my drive to work; when I read something, spin-off plots form in my head. Even if I'm swamped in my daily life and even if I don't have time to even think about working on a plot for a new book...well, I'm still thinking about it. My brain is still going, still making stories, just as surely as my heart is still beating, still pumping blood.

And actually, the more stressed I am, the more overwhelmed by life and work and responsibilities...the better I am at writing. I think it's a combination between valuing what little writing time I do have and escaping in stories in my mind to avoid real life...which leads into short bursts of writing that's pretty effective.

So how about you? When do you write best--when you're super-stressed, or super-relaxed?
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