Writing as Magic
So last week I talked about writing as exercise i.e. takes effort but done regularly reaps rewards. But exercise has a certain mechanical, mathematical even, rule to it – if I do an hour’s worth of exercise I will burn a certain amount of calories. I can do it grudgingly. I can be in a bad mood. I can be unmotivated and only just manage it, or I can skip along happily. Doesn’t matter, do the work and the calories burn and a certain amount of progress has been made toward the goal.
Writing isn’t like that.
Not quite anyhow. Because it’s creative the goal is to produce something worthwhile. Perhaps not straight away and we can be patient about the level of quality but not all writing is equal. I can spend an hour writing and produce nothing but pages of ‘ideas’ and ‘brainstorming’ that aren’t anything that can be shared or published. Or I can spend the same hour writing a story that someone might read and enjoy.
But it’s not guaranteed. This is the scary part. Working hard or consistently isn’t enough.
However I kinda sorta don’t worry about that. My attitude and experience is that creativity will flow. When or how inspiration will strike I don’t know. But it does so more if I’m actually writing and it can only be turned into something shareable if I am actually writing. And an idea in my head is wonderful but it’s only something I actually write and finish and can share that really counts.
So you sort of have to have faith in the magic of it. You sit down. You’re tired, uninspired, in a bad mood and feeling lacking in any talent or confidence. Any you start to write. Anything. Ideas. Thoughts about themes, characters, words, phrases, scenes, visual ideas, snippets of dialogue. For me it’s most often writing about writing and then asking myself questions – how does this work? where does he come from? how does she feel?
And I write for my allotted time and maybe, probably for the first few sessions, I have nothing. But eventually, if I keep at it, the magic happens, the spark comes from where-ever it comes from and ideas start to flow. Better than that I actually start to like what I’m writing.
But it’s not guaranteed. I have no idea how it really works just that I do certain things and then it happens. A few days later, particularly if I haven’t written in between times or am working on a new project, I may be back to feeling like I have nothing. So I start over with my brainstorming and journaling and just typing whatever comes into my head. And hope/believe/pray that it happens again.
Repeat the ritual, keep the faith, wait for the fire to fall.
Reliable but unpredictable – magic.
Writing Done this Week
Well I was back at work this week and predictably that has meant I haven’t written as often or as much. I’ve only written on three of the last seven days. Each time though I wrote for 30mins and overall I wrote about 1565 words. Most of that was in the form of ideas though i.e. the kind of rambling I described above.
I did write the first draft of an idea for the TWI Monday flash, but the deadline was Friday 9pm and since I didn’t write at all that day I missed it. I may come back to the idea but it was very slight and to be honest it’s not one of my favourites.
I wrote some thoughts on how to do a sequel/re-write of a story I wrote a few years ago. M. told me it was her favourite of mine and that I should write something similar. I’m not sure how so I wrote about that (see above re: questions)
This evening I wrote mostly brainstorming ideas for Web Writer’s September challenge – which is to write a 3,500 word story called “Hunting Season”. Actually a lot of my thoughts were about combining it with “airship” and another idea I’ve had called “the purpose of flight” – these may still be three stories but may take place in the same world.