Saturday, 2 July 2011

Day 43: Confidence and Keeping It Going

Everyone's confidence ebbs and flows. Some days you feel like you could conquer the world and well others... On those days everyone else seems more talented or having something better to say. I've just gone through several of those days. I don't know if it was the result of some pretty intense work over the past ten days or so or whether it was simply a failure on my part to feel good about myself and my stuff. I don't know. What I know is that I didn't want to write anything.

What's the cure? Don't be so hard on yourself. Give it a couple days and get back at it. When I mean a couple, I'm talking two or three - not two to three weeks off. Go for walks, watch some movies, maybe even think about how and what you'd like to write. But during these 'down' times, give yourself a break and then get right back at it after your self-imposed writing holiday.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Day 42: Sometimes Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I wrote a christmas story that I finished a revised draft in December, 2008. I workshopped it briefly in a course in fall of 2009 and it sat around in my computer for the next year and a half. I pulled it out today because I want a short story for critiquing at a course I'm taking. I wanted something that as a story was complete so that the minions could not alter my vision of story.

Pasted the piece into my scrapbook and went at it. Its odd looking at old work. Its never as bad as you think and you can come to it with fresh eyes, reworking cumbersome sentences. Giving it a nice polish.

Time off from a completed draft is critical when you need to move to the next stage of editting. Think of your story as a nice stew that needs to simmer or a cup of tea that needs to steep. Distance will make your heart fonder of your work. It is one of your babies.

Day 41: Doing Instead of Writing About Doing

Day and a half late because I was busy writing rather than writing about doing the writing. Didn't even realize until now that I didn't blog yesterday. Had a reading that I needed to MC and needed to prep my nice comments about my fellow writers. I like the homey personal touch for those types and evenings and this morning started in earnest on some editing of a short story I've been putting off for months. Sometimes I guess you get caught up in the creative meanderings of your mind and lose it and time.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Day 40: Lessons Learned - Part Two

We all have that voice in our heads that tells us this or that. Do you listen to that voice or do you let others tell you what to do? When it comes to writing I think you need to train yourself to listen with conviction to what you think. If you are being critiqued and one or two people out of seven tell you something, it may not necessarily be true. It could simply be their preference and your writing could be completely fine. If five of seven say the same thing you need to use your common sense and look at what they are telling you. I'm not saying to simply accept their advice but be critical of it in the sense that you will examine what is being said and determine for yourself what is right for your book. Remember sometimes we can be blind to our own faults and it does take a fresh pair of eyes to point out the deficiencies when they do exist.

When you get advice, ask yourself whether it makes sense.

What happens if that voice in your head is telling you something is bad, no good, crap? Do the same thing you would do with any advice, be critical of it and, during a quiet time of reflection, think about whether it is reasonable.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Day 39: Journalling 201

I was at the initial class of a program that I will be teaching in creative writing yesterday. I discussed journalling with the class. The topic of sharing your journalling came up.

I think this is a bad idea. Why? The journalling is really an exercise in silencing your inner critic and idea mining. If you start sharing your journalling in the raw form that its in, you will eventually silence your free thought. Journalling, if done freely, should read like a stream of consciousness. Topics change quickly and can be returned to. Listen to the topics that you continually return to. These types of topics may be your blood line or vein of gold as some call it.

Your journal should never be shared in its raw stage. Why would you take the risk of drying up your source of ideas for longer, more polished works.

This blog is really like journalling to a certain degree. These are thoughts straight out of my head to screen, unpolished. Am I failing to follow my own advice? I don't think so. That's mainly because I know the exact purpose of what I want from this project. At some point I would like a discussion of some of my ideas but right now the blog is simply primary source material for potential projects so I'm okay with it. If someone was to write that my writing lacked sparkle and shine, I wouldn't mind as it  isn't suppose to sparkle at this point.

Journalling technique taught to the emerging writer must stress the privacy of thise writings, those ideas until they are in a polished state to be shared. If you don't do this, the emerging writer may creep back into the sideline shadows letting their own stories shrivel away.

Day 38: A Lesson in Inaction

Writing doesn't get done unless you sit down and do it. If you put it off, you'll never get it done. I must have said to myself about five times yesterday at different points in the day that I needed to post my blog. Each time I put it off for some other reason; usually playing some computer game as I was in the midst of a funk with a splash of laziness. Well, what happens. Nothing. It doesn't get done.

The lessons learned:
1. Write every day. Get use to sitting in the chair and putting your words to the paper.
2. Write when you don't want to. That's when its the hardest to be a writer but if you're committed you'll get it done. Stories and Novels are written one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page, one chapter at a time. The one word is more than you had yesterday. Fortitude produces product at the end of the day. The imagination is just the seed. The hard work of daily gardening brings the seed from germination to seedling to adult plant. Your writing is the same thing.
3. Write even if your critic tells you its bad. It can be fixed.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Day 37: Journalling

One of the first things I started to do when I got the writing bug bad was to journal each morning. I did this for about a year straight. I wrote about anything and everything during a period where my life was going through some difficulties. The first creative writing textbook suggested it and it was a really good exercise in shutting off the internal critic.

Years later this material can become the source of many story or poem ideas. I can mine ther nuggets from my ramblings.

Because I have been busy with a fiction project I haven't written a lot of poetry in the past half a year. I do miss it. I had some time today as I waited for an appointment so I started to look at some old draft poems and I got the urge again to rework them. It got me thinking to the reams of handwritten material that I can go through and start to see where the gems lie. This is all because of my commitment to writing everyday good, bad, or indifferent. I may restart my journalling practice and write freehand every morning for fifteen minutes, a stream of consciousness writing. Material galour and shuts the old critic up each day.