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writing in the bath tub

I hardly ever give writing tips, but here's a good one: You should write in the bath.

It's very freeing. For one thing, you don't feel pulled in a thousand directions. Sure, the laundry needs washing and doorbell needs answering and the cat's scratching at the back door, but there's not much you can do about any of that. Your job is simple -- relax and get clean. Part of relaxing is daydreaming. Part of writing is daydreaming. Ergo, you're already writing, so you might as well make some notes!

Oh, I forgot to mention, the best part of being in the bath is that you can't "write" there, at least not in the traditional sense. No chapters, no fonts, no paragraphs even. Unless you've got a super amazing laptop, you can't "write" in the bath. It's like the laundry and the cat -- even if it needs doing, even if you're past your deadline, there's nothing you can do about it while you're in the tub.

So you just lean back, close your eyes, and listen to your characters. Or listen to other characters that aren't even yours yet. Let you mind wander.

When something comes to you, you'll want to jot it down. This is the most important part of this tip: jot, don't try to actually write a scene. Use shorthand, get the gist of it, then go back to soaking.

You'll need specific equipment:

Pencils, not pens. Trust me, if you splash your page, the ink from a pen will fade fairly quickly. I've lost some good stuff that way! So sharpen half a dozen pencils and have them handy.

Paper -- I use lined paper that I've torn into half horizontally. Full sized sheets are too big -- you'll get it too wet. And don't use newsprint type paper, or certain recycled paper. use the good stuff. Newsprint paper is cool, and recycled is important everywhere else, but they absorb too much random water. You need something that encourages the water droplets to roll away, or at least, doesn't absorb water too quickly.

Don't get greedy. Make a few notes per sheet, then set it aside so it can start drying. Keep a stack handly.

Writing in the bath is like plotting while you're driving -- for me at least, my mind feels freer, and I suspect it's because I'm not necessarily going to record my thoughts. It's too inconvenient. So it's like pretend writing. Chances are, it will never see paper, much less, printed manuscript pages, so it doesn't matter if it's good, or marketable, or even makes sense.

And this is so much better than writing while you're driving, because pulling to make notes over ten times on the way to the store is so inefficient. But in the bath, if you're soaking and daydreaming, you're right on task!

Now we know why I don't give too many writing tips! Oh well, have fun.




( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Would this work in the pool? I love to daydream about my stories while floating in the pool.

Jul. 26th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
Hey Kristen, thanks for visiting. I just checked out your site and blog -- both are so eye-catching. I love your RITA dress!! And I'm going to make that cheesecake soon, believe me.

As for the pool, you'll have to let us know. I don't have one any more, but we had one at our last house, and here's my experience: When I was swimming laps, I'd get great off=the-wall, inspired ideas, and some nutty ones. But it was like driving -- I didn't really want to interrupt myself, so I think that's what freed my mind.

Floating is a little different. You can still get great ideas, but since it's easy to get out, towel off, and write them down, I'm not sure your internal editor really goes off duty.

But that's just me. Plus, floating in a pool? What's not to love! I want one again, especially today, because it's hot and humid here.

Talk to you soon!

Jul. 25th, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC)
I don't have a tub.

But I gotta say, I regret liking writing by hand when the mood strikes me. Mostly because it's days before I get around to transferring what I have in my notebook to my laptop, and sometimes my handwriting is illegible.
Jul. 26th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)
Hi May!

I handwrite a lot too -- it frees me up creatively, plus it's so convenient, plus you can curl up in a chair under a blanket with just a pad and pen and do it (not quite the same as with a several pound laptop on your lap).

Sometimes by the time I get to that scene when writing the book on the computer, I don't even look at my old handwritten version, but I love knowing it's there if I need it.

But I know what you mean about the illegible stuff -- that drives me crazy! I use a lot of abbreviations when I make notes, and if it's months later before I look at it again, it's a definite WTF.

Still, handwritten notes are gifts from the Muses.

Jul. 26th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
Re: handwriting
Kate, there are just some scenes that Must be Handwritten. They won't come out any other way.

If I'm out and about, even if I have my laptop, I usually end up writing by hand anyway. Which is a good thing because now there's wireless internet everywhere, LOL.
Jul. 26th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: handwriting
Sometimes, when I'm busily writing a chapter on the computer, I get an idea for something that should happen in a future scene, and rather than open a new doc, I just grab a pad and start scribbling. And sometimes, the idea takes so long, it's an hour that I'm sitting there like a crazy woman, writing in an uncomfortable position on a pad of paper with the world of high-tech right in front of me!


No wonder I like you so much!!!! Definitely kindred spirits, even if I don't candy my own peel (and I still think that sounds kinky).
Jul. 26th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
Re: handwriting
I do that, and sometimes with my new WIP.

I've found that when I get a new idea, I have to handwrite it. Can't remember the last new idea that I started jotting down on the computer.

Tip: Don't use a fountain pen, because they BLOT. (Yes, I'm typing in an old page at the moment. Can you tell?)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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