3/31/08

Creative Lollygagging


Ever experience writer's block? According to novelist, Michael Vaughn, maybe you need to work harder on working less.

Every writer knows you can't sit down in front of a notebook or computer screen and wait for ideas to show up. You need some ideas before you sit down, and you need to figure out a system for harvesting those ideas.

Ironically—and happily—one of the best ways to achieve this is to do...nothing. Well, not nothing, exactly. Think of it as "creative lollygagging," says Vaughn.

Creative lollygagging-- I like it. Though it's not really about doing nothing and all about brainstorming. The thing here is to get into a place where the ideas will flow.

So what makes lollygagging creative? Let's look at the basic elements. First, consider activity. We are not talking about sitting around on a couch. Just as a satellite dish needs electricity, you need some blood pumping into that brain. Next, consider low focus. The activity shouldn't be so intense that you don't have time to think. Look for a mellow pursuit, surrounded by low-level distractions. Finally, consider separation. If you don't hie thee away from the computer, the television, the bills and the kids, you’re headed for a mighty wall o' brain-lock.

If you subtly stimulate your other senses, you can take the "edge" away from your conscious, purposive mind, return to a state of active passivity and open yourself to the forces of serendipity. Ideas for your story will slip in along your peripheral vision.

Screenwriter Michael Hauge adds this to the creative lollygagging pot: “Writing is a continual, back and forth process, alternating between brainstorming (the judgment-free flow of ideas) and editing (selecting the best of those ideas) and using the principles of good writing to mold them into a great story.”

If your story isn't flowing like you want, find ways to stimulate the creative side of your brain into action by doing some creative lollygagging of your own. I bet you’ll come up with great stories.

5 comments:

Christina Phillips said...

ooooh lollygagging. What a fabulous word!!

As I'm currently slumping a tad with the wip, it's very good to know that the time I'm spending away from the computer can actually be called constructive!

Johnny said...

I like lollygagging too. So let's all do some creatively.

Kaye Manro said...

Yes, I love lollygagging too. It helps free my mind. The trick is to let your story unfold while doing it!

Cate said...

This is an interesting idea. One I am doing without know what to call it!

Julie said...

I love this! Getting ready to try it myself.