I know I go off on a variety of tangents and subjects in this blog but I realize that I need to get back to writing. I need to do more writing in general. I have discovered that when real life demands my full attention my writing gets pushed into the background. And that I usually suffer for not getting words onto the page.
I have discovered through the years a few things about my writing habits.
The first thing is that I have to write. I’ve tried giving it up, repeatedly, when life gets crazy. I know that writing is the way I put life into perspective. Writing is how I work through things good and bad.
The most direct way I work through things is by keeping a journal. That is the most shallow writing I do but it allows me to get my monkey mind under control. Do most writers have overactive minds? When too many ideas and feelings have built up I have to write it out. It usually comes out with no order (kind of like this post) but if I keep writing eventually the really important things make themselves known and the rest I can let go of. Journal writing is the one form of writing I am consistent about. I think it’s self-preservation.
Writing fiction or as children say, making things up, is a more indirect way of dealing with things but a creative way to explore. And safe. Instead of taking out anger on someone I can create a fictional scene and work things out that way. And the opposite of that is taking a negative situation and creating a positive scene to replace the real one. It makes me remember what it was like as a child when I would play by acting out feelings. That does wonders for my state of mind. Everyone should remember how to make believe.
When my mind is in a calm state, then I can get into pure creativity. That’s when I do my best creative writing. It’s when poetry comes to mind and words and ideas flow easily. A calm mind is when I will write something that is so crystal clear and alive in my imagination that it feels real. Sometimes more real than real life. And on the opposite of that I have written things that I will go back and read some time after having written it and be surprised. I wrote that?! Wow!
Now that I’m getting more settled into my new home and life I hope to be able to get to a calm state of mind and back to my creative writing. I have at least two stories that I have left hanging for a very long time. The characters are waiting patiently for me to have space for them again. I’m getting there.
How about you? Do you have different levels of writing? Or do you use your writing in different ways? Does it help you deal with life or are you able to completely separate your writing life from whatever is going on day to day?
I find the process, desire and need to write fascinating. I would love to hear your thoughts about it.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by a large writing project? I know I have; especially when I’m working on any long project like a novel. It can be daunting if I think about all the work I have ahead especially when I’m trying to get that first draft done. For me, first drafts are really hard to finish.
I always start a new project full of energy and can’t seem to write or type fast enough. But then I hit that place where I’m not sure how I will ever get it all done. Or that part of the story where I don’t have any idea how I’ll get from one point to another and that brings the whole project to a screeching halt.
One trick that can work is to treat it like a short story. I tell myself that I need to just get down the major parts or scenes from beginning to end. I ignore the gaping holes that appear. I try not to add too many details. I just push through to the end. When I reach one of those walls where I can’t imagine how to move forward, I’ll make a note to go back and figure that part out. I just keep writing sketches of scenes knowing I’ll go back and fill in the details later.
If I keep telling myself it’s a short story, sometimes I can get it all out without panicking. And if I keep writing it as fast as I can without giving it too much deep thought I’m surprised when I reach the end. I also know that the end may change. Any of it may change but I work on that later too.
I find that I’ve gotten to know my characters better by the end of that quick draft. I know more about their motivation which makes it easier to fill in those blank places.
It doesn’t always work. Sometimes I reach the end and realize that I don’t really have a story here. But at least it’s a quick draft and often I can use some part of it. I think I learn from everything I write so it isn’t wasted time.
When it does work, at least I have the bare bones of the story and look forward to going back and filling in the details. For me, that’s the fun part. Getting that first draft done quickly makes the second draft feel like dessert.
What tricks do you use to get that first draft done?
I’ve noticed that I haven’t been posting here as often as I would like. Why? I’ve been getting a lot of creative writing done. I find it interesting that when my writing wasn’t flowing easily, my blogging was easy. Now I see that while my latest fiction is coming easily, I haven’t been as inspired to blog. Just an observation.
The great thing is that I sat down and wrote a 2000 word short story in one sitting last weekend. I love when that happens! I read it to my writing group last night and the reactions were positive. I’ll get a written critique of it next month.
And I’ve been working on the story I started while flying to Denver at the end of August. That story is coming together well so far.
I will have to see how things go in the future. I would like to do more of both. Blogging and creative writing. I’ll work on that!