Like all you other writers out there, I get antsy when I can't work on my novel. But lately, I've had to be creative to find ways to sneak in writing here and there during my day. Many afternoons I purposely leave the house a half hour before school's out. Then I sit in the car with my notebook while I wait in line to pick my son up. I get peace and quiet by getting away from the telephone and T.V., and I get the added benefit of being the first in line. Sometimes I take the laptop out to the patio when the weather's nice and brainstorm while watching the squirrels play. Even if it's 20 to 30 minutes, it's a great break, and the change of scenery is refreshing. And I've been known to drive down to the lake 10 miles away and park in the marina to watch the barges and write. This is perhaps my favorite setting. Something about the soothing small waves rippling by just lends itself to deep thought.
Still, there are times when I work 12 and 14 hours a day and just barely have the energy to change into my jammies and pass out. Even then, my work in progress is bugging me to get back to it. Many nights I will flip on the television for something funny or mind numbing to relieve the tension of the day, and I end up finding just the information I needed for a certain setting or scene.
The other night it was a program on Viet Nam. When I was working on From Pharaoh's Hand, it was a documentary on anthropology and the excavation of the ancient tombs of Egypt. Sometimes I take notes. Most often I just drink in the information and make a mental note to research the most needed facts in the morning. It works for me. And I think it's amazing and a wonderful confirmation that God lines up research opportunities for a working mom. And before you make fun of chat rooms, I have found infinite material for dialogue and characters there. It's a wealth of diversity. You get a different perspective than the one from your own narrow existence.
In short, almost any circumstance, no matter how mundane it may seem at the time, can produce fodder for the writer's soul. The key is to keep your writing radio on and that work in progress playing softly in the background night and day. That way, when that great source or great burst of inspiration begins, you can turn up the volume and rock on!
Cynthia Green is working on her second novel, From the Dust of Rose Hill. She does legal transcription from home by day and writes from the heart at night after her family is in bed. You can read about her novel journey and everyday joys and trials at her inspirational blog, Beneath the Ivy Wreath. Cynthia lives in beautiful Paris, Tennessee with her husband Charles and 7-year-old son, Chase.