I swear it made sense last night

So, yesterday I got stuck. I'm supposed to be writing a battle sequence after writing weeks of romantic drama.

I followed all my rules for writing battle sequences, meaning I wrote out incredibly detailed outlines, cut and recut, and introduced twists and death. It's like, if battle sequences were a formula, I had this one balanced out.

But I sat for two hours, and I kid you not, wrote two hundred words.

Then I left my coffee shop as it closed and trudged to my apartment full of frustration and bewilderment. I ate dinner. I opened my laptop at the kitchen table and tried writing again. Nothing. I forced some scene sketches, but I didn't like them.

Finally my roommate suggested I write something else, and frankly, the idea of writing made my head hurt, and my head was already full of a busy week stuffed with things that have nothing to do with wizards, sun kings, and fox demons.

My brain just felt tired and stuffed.

You know what I did? I flopped down on the couch and read the first novel I've read for pleasure in a while. I read half of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, and it was good and easy. What a great read. When I looked up from the page sometime later, my mind felt clearer. It was like crap had been cleaned out of the gutters. A sort of recalibration.

But I wasn't up to writing. Instead I paced the halls of my apartment building at 2AM, muttering like a crazy person. Walking through the words. Sometimes when I write, I forget that there's a rhythmic quality as well — the spoken element that happens in the mind when people read. I tried out sentences, descriptions... This sort of talking to myself, as crazy as it is, always helps me with metaphors and similes. Poetic language in general. Not that I'm saying my writing is poetic, but sometimes it helps to get in the rhythmic poet mindset. So I walked around for an hour muttering to myself, repeating and re-shaping words.

I am going to make the best hobo ever.

So, I get back to the apartment around 2:30, and both my roommates are asleep and I don't want to wake them up. But I've got no paper, and I DO NOT want to look at a computer screen, so I cut up a brown paper bag. I start to scribble down all the ideas I got wandering around, and the scene starts to flesh. I've got a chronology. It makes sense. Sometimes writing on something new helps too—I like gigantic pieces of paper.

With a sketch written out on the brown paper, I let myself go to bed.

Now, here I am the next evening with my neatly trimmed grocery bag notes in a coffee shop trying to make sense of what seemed sensical last night...

I swear it made sense last night. I now realize almost nothing was in chronological order...

(Something I figured out when I was pacing around: battle scenes can't just be about battle scenes, but about how characters cope and change in the face of violence. There has to be an emotional core, preferably about the star character. Seems obvious. It wasn't yesterday when I couldn't write anything.)