Today’s tip is actually about writing something OTHER than your fiction. As we all know, there are some days when the fiction doesn’t want to flow. Or you’re between projects (as I’ve been lately). Or for whatever other reason, the story is not what you’re ready to write today. I think most days it’s best when we still TRY to work on the story anyway (because usually the writing doesn’t end up as bad as we think it’s going to), but for days when you just can’t, write in a free-write journal instead.
Mine’s a regular old Word document, though once in a blue moon I take a spiral-bound notebook to a park and write by hand. My cursive is atrocious, though, and my hand tends to cramp up from holding pens or pencils after a while, whereas my typing is nice and fast and comfortable. So most of the time if I go this method, it’s on screen.
As they probably told you in creative writing class, the free-write can be anything at all. It’s just you doing stretches and jumping jacks, not you tackling a marathon or an ambitious hike. You can write about the lyrics of the song that’s in your head and speculate on what the heck they mean. You can write about how annoying your brother is. You can write about what the problem is with your current story, and see if you can unravel some of the tangles. Anything your mind feels inclined to produce.
Just fifteen minutes of that—hell, even five—is good for your creative brain, and may turn out to be good for the story you’ll eventually work on, too.