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  • Writer's pictureMicki Bare

Dry erase brain

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

When you finish* a manuscript and are awaiting critique and coaching meetings with real live agents before querying a group of carefully researched agents that might be interested in representing you, what do you do with your time? 

For the past 16 months, I've poured endless hours, creativity, and chunks of my soul into a middle grades fantasy novel. Toward the end, I'd settled into a writer's routine — that is to say, a writer who still works full time because other people require money in trade for food, clothing, and shelter.

As a result of my new routine, I have at least 30 minutes each morning to devote to my writing, as well as time in the evenings and on weekends.

Some of that time absolutely must be spent on social media. But when you finish* a manuscript, and you're a writer — even one who works full time elsewhere — something begins to stir. It rumbles down deep in the heart and soul. It stirs the brain. It calls out; quietly at first, and then gradually louder. 

My internal stirrings goaded me to visit the store. I was compelled to purchase a variety pack of dry erase markers and a new dry erase eraser. Just prior to my jaunt to the store, I was driven venture into our hot, humid attic during a 90-degree it's-still-summer spell to dig out the dry erase board that once hung in my home office. A home office that has since been transformed into Hubby's man cave. 

Once I had my supplies, the ideas that had been swirling in my head in the pre-dawn hours spilled out in an array of colored ink. 

Now, as I come up with other tidbits of information on where the story will go in the sequels to the aforementioned manuscript, they are jotted in the spaces between the already recorded notes, scribbles, and bullet points. 

Having the messy, unorganized, colorful representation of ideas in my face day in and day out helps me work out details. Eventually, I'll know what's going to happen in book two and I'll begin to write it.

The dry erase board is an external extension of my brain. Someday, I hope to have an entire dry erase wall (or maybe two). For that, I'll need a home office again. As soon as our grown kids pick up all there stuff and settle into their lives, that's exactly what I plan to do with one of the spare bedrooms.

*In this use of "finish," I mean ready for professional critiquing, after which adjustments will likely be made (more editing and re-writing), so it can be pitched in query emails. Then, once contracted with an agent, there will be more editing and re-writing. Then, once sold to a publisher, there will be more editing and re-writing. 

My dry erase board
An example of my creative brain as it spills out onto a dry erase board.

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