Monday, May 7, 2012

On Breaking Through

(Jump over here to check out the other participants' posts.)

Yesterday, I blah-ged about writing. Today, I have nothing but good vibes to share.

I broke through that tough scene and found my groove. What's funny (now--not at the moment when I was writing that last blog post) is that I know how to get through those bluesy periods of writing. Just write and write, and stop worrying that it doesn't sound "literary" or "clever" or "poignant" enough, stop revising my sentences as I type, and remind myself that I'm not writing POETRY. I'm just trying to get a SENTENCE down.

Everyone has his or her own writing groove. For me, all it takes is time. It sounds so simple, it's ridiculous. But it's true and I know it. If I sit my butt down and turn on my mood music and tell myself I will not get up until I have written 1000 words, after a few hours, the words stop being painful to write. But first, I go through a spell of deep, dark, self-flagellation (i.e., wanting to whip every word on the page). After that's over (60-90 minutes or so) I emerge. Maybe this scene isn't so bad! I get excited about the scene(s), and pretty soon, I'm at 1500 words. Or 2000 words. That's a very good day. Some days, I'm not as productive, but that's okay. It's only when those days pile up, and I've not committed to the butt-in-seat ritual, that I start to feel bluesy.

I have the sneaking suspicion that most writers know what they need to do to get to the groove. It's just the unpleasant part--the letting go--that keeps us from actually doing what we need to do to produce fiction.

I teach writing, and one of the mantras I hear all the time is this: Writing Is Hard! And that's true.

What I want to work on is letting the little creative sprite in me run amok a bit. There are so many things we "need" to do (ticking off that checklist) when writing fiction, we forget to have fun. We forget that writing, that creating, is supposed to be a joyful experience.

I'll leave you with a little video that always reminds me to stop complaining and seize the joy and creativity in life. And to spread it. She's got her uke. I've got my laptop.


  1. Congrats on getting through that scene!

    I think you're right about writers knowing what they need to do to get back in the groove. I'm a perfectionist and find it hard sometimes just to let go and have fun when I write--but I also realize that's exactly what I have to do in order to write well. It's a balancing act for sure.