Testing, testing, 123.

I've been tested and I'm waiting to be told I don't have it. I took the test for a research app that I've been helping by clocking in every day, but it was unpleasant. All I can do to help though.

What is there to do as a writer except to know that you should be writing? Well, many things actually. One of the key issues I have is my extensive collection of filled up notebooks. Yes, write in a notebook, by all means but my guilty pleasure seems to be filling them up and never looking at them again! I have ten years of bulging pages waiting for me to read, but whenever I do what I find in there are fragments of poems. Observed characters maybe but rarely that supreme idea I'm always looking for. I think part of that is due to the fact when I have a good idea I tend to start writing it straight away. But also my notebooks seemed to be preoccupied with one project or another that has been completed or is still in progress.

What I realised is that I don't read! I write them down but I don't go back over the books again, I move on like a freight train chugging into the future. However I adore the process of writing in a notebook. In the olden days of cafes and musing, I loved nothing better than sitting with a notebook scribbling whatever popped into my head. But could there be a better process?

In this lockdown time, writing is giving way to deeper thinking and reading. A desire to re-read my notes and transcribe them. I've decided to buy the yellow legal pads that many American novelists used and file them in lever arches. That way I'm not struggling to find the tiny moment I had an idea in a 300 page notebook of random thoughts. I've been thinking more about balance and harmony as well. Instead of snatching time, there must be ways of getting positive about the time abundance I have right now, even though it is interrupted with home schooling and constant activity from my family.

I discovered a wonderful course called The Science of Well Being on Coursera, which takes you through the research proven ways to be happy. At the end we were introduced to WOOP, which is a way of understanding what you really want and how to get it.

This is a great way, also, of testing your writing ideas.

A quick go over. W stands for Wish. O for Outcome. O for Obstacle and P for Plan.

You sit quietly and think to yourself 'What do I really want' then imagine getting it (visualisation is always a good one for wishes), then you think 'What is it inside me that stops me getting it' and you imagine that (the obstacle) but then you come up with a plan. If I ...then I will... Go to the website to discover more.

For writing this can be a great way to connect to your story or character.

Ask yourself - 'Who is my character, what do they want?', Imagine the character reaching their goal. What is in their way? Imagine them fighting to get what they want. What action do they need to take - If my character ....then they will....

For example: Let's say my character's name is Bill. He wants to uncover a mystery surrounding the death of his wife, but his goal is to have peace. What's in his way? The death of his wife and the ensuing mystery. What does he have to do? Investigate the coroner report. Ask the police to look into it. Trace her last steps. Lots and lots of plot lines pop up.

Playing with ideas can be as much writing as putting pen to paper. Reading is another way to inspire the plethora of ideas you could be writing. Go for it!

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