Creative Noodling

NaNoWriMo Day 1:

ELEMENTAL: 5044 words

FORTUNE COOKIE (my “unofficial” NaNoWriMo project): 0 words

PiBoIdMo Day 1: one idea down, 29 more to go

It’s 12:40 am as I type this, and to be honest, the only reason I’m writing this and not relaxing in bed with a glass of wine and a good audiobook is because my cousin is over here replacing our makeshift plywood stairs (long story, you really don’t want to know) with proper stairs (you know, the kind you normally see in a house. As in, not made out of plywood and those metal joist hanger things.)

And since we can’t go up and down the stairs until the new stairs are installed, my cousin and his friend don’t plan on leaving until they’re done. (And even if they wanted to, I’m not going to let them.)

So here I am waiting … and waiting … and then I got this brilliant idea. I’ll write a blog post!

I’ve been thinking about doing “creative noodling” recently. I used to do this last thing at night, right before I fell asleep, but I recently discovered a meditation CD that I’m liking very much, and the best part of it is that I can do the meditation as I’m drifting off to sleep.

So no creative noodling at night anymore.

I realized last night, though, that if I’m going to end up with something halfway decent at the end of this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m going to have to find time for creative noodling. And since the moments before drifting off to sleep are out, where else could I find the time?

I’ve come up with a few good possibilities.

On the treadmill. This time is normally my iPhone game playing time. I like doing this because once I get involved in a game, the time just flies, and before I know it, I’ve walked those 1.5 miles.

I discovered today that I can just as easily daydream while I’m walking on the treadmill, and yes, time did fly by, and before I knew it, I’d walked 1.5 miles. I don’t know for sure if it will always be like this, but for most of November, my treadmill time will qualify as part of my creative noodling for writing time.

Cleaning the kitchen. Yes, another rather mindless activity, during which I usually listen to an audiobook. For this month, I’m considering giving up my nightly audiobook treat while cleaning the kitchen.

I’m just considering it, though. I haven’t yet decided if I’m willing to give up my audiobooks. I don’t know if I’m that self-disciplined!

Occasional moments. And of course, I will have occasional moments throughout the day during which you’ll find me staring blankly into space. I do this on a regular basis, actually, only this month I will be a little more intentional and organized about it.

So while it might look like I’m doing nothing, I’m actually doing something very valuable indeed. I seriously don’t think any work of fiction can get written without a good supply of creative noodling.

What about you? Do you daydream or do any sort of creative noodling? If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo or PiBoIdMo, how was your day one? Most importantly, are you having fun?

(And no, they’re not done with the stairs yet …)

My NaNoWriMo Experiment

imageNaNoWriMo is a week away, and today, with a little help from a friend, I came up with a great idea for an experiment.

You see, I had this really epic dream last night. I have really vivid dreams all the time, and my dreams are usually either “oh, what a beautiful, beautiful life” dreams, or what I call the epic story dream. Both are quite wonderful. The beautiful life ones make me feel really good when I wake up; the epic story ones are thrilling, like a great novel that I just happen to be in.

So in this epic story dream of mine, the setting for the last scene was a really vivid one, vivid and wonderfully strange. And when I woke up, my first thought was, that’s the kind of setting I want to use in my writing.

When I write, it’s usually from a movie in my head. I get characters, dialogue and action, and I try to capture it all in words. But the setting is usually never more than a faint blur, which probably explains why my first drafts are short on description.

So I want access to the stuff that comes to me in my dreams. After a few email exchanges with a friend of mine, who has written fiction in this way herself, I’ve decided to experiment with one of my NaNoWriMo projects (I’m going to work on two this year, in keeping with my new multi-focused approach).

I’m already a “discovery writer”, in that I don’t plot and prefer instead to write by the seat of my pants, discovering the story myself as I write. Having said that, I usually know in what general direction I’m writing; I just don’t know the details of the journey there, and of course, the direction itself is flexible and changes as the details emerge.

My WIP ELEMENTAL is a quest tale, and I have a vague idea what the quest is. So I’ll continue writing that one out with that general direction in mind.

But I’m going to play around with my other WIP, experiment with different “meditative states” while I’m writing it. Kind of like lucid dreaming while awake. I’m not going to write this one chronologically, either; I’ll get down the scenes as they (hopefully) come to me, and afterwards I’ll figure out what the sequence is. I already know what one of the scenes will be: the one I dreamt about last night.

So it’s going to be a complete experiment, from beginning to end. I’ll do this one both on the computer and in longhand. I’ll go wherever it takes me, however it goes, and then at the end of 30 days, I’ll see what I have.

It sounds like great fun to me!

Have any of you ever written like this? Investigating other states of being while writing? I’d love to hear about your experiences!