Why Writers Space Out

We writers are an odd bunch.  At least I’m pretty sure that’s what others think.

Why?  Because we hear voices, talk to ourselves, spend countless hours at a computer and read the rest of the time, we often sit in the same spot for eons and in our pajamas nonetheless, and most of all….we blank out.

You know what I’m talking about.  The blank stareThe lost in space look.

We ALL do it.

Last week I was driving, (I know..bad timing for a blank out, but it’s common for me), when my daughter nudged me and said, “Why do you do that?”

“Do what?” I replied, having no clue what she was talking about.

“That thing where you just stare,” she said.  “It’s like you don’t even know what’s going on around you.  You do it all the time.”

When I realized what she meant, I quickly explained.

“I’m writing,” I said.  “I know it sounds crazy, but if you see me staring into space, my brain is most likely working over time.”

She looked at me like I had three heads.

“You are so wierd, Momma.”

I laughed and left it at that.  But this was not the first time blanking out had been mentioned to me.

My husband will often ask me why I’m being so quiet and I always answer, “I’m sorry.  I’m just focused.”  It happens often when we’re riding in the car or watching something uninteresting on TV.

By now, he knows what I mean and pats me lovingly and then leaves me alone to let my brain unravel the mess of threads that is my novel.

I don’t know how it is for everyone else, but when the writing juice is flowing, I can block out anything. 

Granted…I have a house full of girls talking all the time so I am uber experienced at tuning things out…but, it is even more intense in those moments when my characters decide to have a nice, long conversation in my head, or when a scene is playing out like a movie. 

If my laptop is not available, I commit the scene to memory (perhaps that’s why I blank out so completely…I’m memorizing) and then write it out later, but it is in those silent, spaced out moments that the magic happens.

Writing a novel is the most complicated thing I’ve ever done…and I’ve mapped DNA, people. 

It is a process like no other because even though we all share similarities, like blanking out, we also have our own unique methods to our madness.

I’m just now really beginning to understand my own process.  It is something that takes time and trial and error, but I’m getting it.  FINALLY.

So…I’m off to write…literally.  The blank stares came in a multitude yesterday so I have a lot of work to do today to pull all of those ideas out of my head and pour them onto paper.

What about you?  Do you blank out?  What about any other strange writing practices?

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