I saw a great video from Max Landis, the writer of “Chronicle”, “American Ultra” and the stellar comic “Superman: American Alien”. You can see it below (minor content warning):
Landis’ “drunk writing advice” is, as per usual, spot-on. I completely agree with his take on the writing process. It’s not a singular activity. Most of us think writing is something we only do when we are facing a blank word processor (or if you are lucky, a typewriter). But the truth is, we can (and should) be mentally writing first, even if it’s just in the car, at the gym or at work. The end result might not matter much to our word count, but it gives us a head-start before we have to face the dreaded blank page.
Don’t get me wrong – “not having time to write” is a frustration, because it usually means we aren’t making any progress on the page. Still, just mentally writing up a scene in your head can help your writing efforts immensely when you finally do get enough time to sit down and write. I often times find myself circling around block one, two (or maybe six) times while I mentally plot out a scene step-by-step. I’ve also found a good walk can accomplish wonders towards getting my story ready to go on the page.
One of the worst things a writer can do is leave themselves at the mercy of inspiration. Sometimes you boot up your computer and the words just flow out of you like watercolor on a canvas. Other times it feels like you are trying to squeeze blood (probably your own) from a rock. And even mentally preparing your scene has its limits, because so often our productiveness is directly correlated with how we are feeling at that very moment. But mentally writing out your scene is a still a good way to get momentum going in your writing, even if it’s a bumpy ride going forward.
As Landis eloquently states, writing is telepathy. You are communicating a thought from your mind to the page right into another person’s mind. But it all starts in your mind – so it’s good to remember our own thoughts on a story are every bit as important as what turns up on the page.