I try to write a little most days, if not every day. When I get closer to writing the novel I will get more disciplined about it. But I try to write something, even if it’s just a couple of lines of dialogue.
Other times I free write.
Free writing is a fabulous concept. I used to find it rather stupid until I figured out that the way it worked best for me was if I found something that really inspired me, rather than just picking something random.
So, for example, a photograph of Jennifer Ringer, one of my favorite dancers. That free write actually ended up talking about food, because I was hungry at the time…or the painting “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. There was a print of this photograph hanging across from where I sat in English class last year. We had just read Mrs. Dalloway over the summer and as dizzying as I found stream of consciousness, it totally fascinated me. Those two ideas combined and produced an interesting and valuable (as a learning experience) piece of writing, which, looking back, is not half bad. Or the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night” which is now such a cliche but caught my fancy today and resulted in a little snippet of something which definitely has the potential to become a short story if not a novel. Or not.
But that’s the beauty of free writing. You never know what will come out of it.