Thinking with a Pencil

A few days ago, I sat down with piece of paper to outline a note to my agent about how I just didn’t have any  ideas at all for revising one of my novels . She had sent me a very thoughtful email about my project before leaving on a three-week trip to Greece.  I knew that she was back in the U.S., and I hadn’t come up with any solutions.  As I started writing, the ideas started flowing.  Within twenty minutes, I had hit upon a way to up the stakes for my character.  I had also come up with a new character, who would help me expand the universe of my fantasy and serve as an apparent ally to my protagonist.  Mmmm.  Lots of possibilities.

I’m confident that my subconcious had been working on the problem.  But I’d also been actively thinking and discussing the issues of making this story work.  Why did answers pop out when I picked up a pencil? 

I do believe in the brain/hand connection when it comes to writing first drafts.  (Check out WRITING DOWN THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg.)  Maybe writing utensils serve as peripherals for human beings.  I know that the next time I’m stuck that I’ll probably reach for a pencil to see if it works again.  Then again, I’ve had some of my best ideas when sweeping the floor and shoveling snow….

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