Things happen. The ceiling starts dripping, My dog chews up another glove. COVID shows up. And off and on my website doesn’t let me blog! But here I am months after trying to fix it and hopefully this entry will actually show up this time!
I call these “life interruptions” detours. They happen all the time. I walk to the kitchen to check the calendar to confirm my dental appointment and notice the floor needs sweeping but when I go to get a “swiffer” dusting sheet, I see we’re out, so I go to my shopping list to add stiffer sheets and can’t find a pen that works. About then my phone rings and it’s a robo call so I attempt to put a stop to that and while I’m scrolling to figure out how to do that, I see it’s my friend’s birthday and I post a happy birthday greeting on her Facebook page and 30 minutes later I’m still scrolling through Facebook posts….I’m in a detour that’s pulled me way off course.
The good thing about detours is that I can use life’s little detours for story ideas, plot points, as tension builders, and more! Let’s take the robo call for example. What if someone is scamming (or blackmailing) your main character, only it’s not some foreign entity, it’s the main character’s best friend! They call her phone and the message is, “we spied you going through your math teacher’s desk last week before the big test; if you flunk tomorrow’s test I won’t tell. If you don’t flunk it, I’ll bust you!”
Or! you are writing a sci-fi/fantasy story where you are building “the perfect” world, with no crime, problems or dust! No swiffering necessary because your perfect world is particle free which means no allergies or disease. However in this perfect world without dust (or any other problems) there is not much to do: no problems to solve means BOREDOM consumes the universe, and that turns into a BIGGER problem than dust…it turns into a disaster! And now you have a story to write!
You get the idea. Even during your biggest detour/time waster moment, there is often a nugget of useful information for your next writing project. Happy detouring and writing!