I've been out of town for the past couple of weeks to help out with some family stuff. It's left me a bit drained and tired, a combo of jetlag and the dazed sort of "hunh?" feeling that comes from seeing people you love having difficult times.
So I haven't blogged or written much at all. I can feel the psychic hole that leaves somewhere near the base of my neck. That's the spot where the chills start, where the hair on your nape stands up when you spot a knee-meltingly hot man or you experience a mind-blowing moment in a story. So that's where I feel the absence, the lack, the void, when I don't write for awhile.
But things and people in my life are on the mend, and I'm back in my Hollywood homeland. My head is fuzzy with fatigue in the afternoons, despite the sunshine, but it can't stop buzzing about the idea for a TV Pilot burbling around in there, as well as three or four different ideas for the next novel.
Sometimes I like to draw out this anticipatory time before I plunge into the actual writing. Much of the writing process doesn't actually involve putting words on paper. Daydreaming is essential. Imagining scenes between your characters can spark plot ideas, inspiration, thematic insights, and on and on.
Jogging last night down Hollywood Boulevard, admiring the silhouettes of the palm trees against the darkening sky, I realized that in one of my ideas I was giving way too much plot to a minor character. I could easily give that activity to the main character. In fact, that activity made the main character much more interesting to me. It fleshed her out. Action = Character as we writers all know. What she does shows you who she is. So give her the cool stuff, for crying out loud, Nina!
So the daydreaming, mulling, fantasizing, all that is vital. If you sidestep it and plung into writing too soon, it can rob you of not only some of the fun of writing, but of some really good ideas.
Just keep in mind - this is the exhilarating part. Many people burble over with ideas. They offer them up to me like precious jewels, telling me I can turn them into books or scripts if I want.
I have to tell them then: ideas are the easy part. It's the writing that's hard. So don't put off the tough stuff of putting words on paper too long, or an idea is all you'll ever have.
So this weekend - writing will happen.