Apparently this is about writing now!

Apparently this is about writing now!

Monday, February 6, 2012

When the Real World Strikes

I've always had a terrible habit of falling silent when real things start happening. I switch out of creative mode, and lose myself in other people's stories. I read more than write, and watch more TV than I should, and make excuses to go out and see movies I'm not even interested in. And then, finally, things calm down again. Life goes back to as close to normal as it gets, but something seems missing. And then, one night (or day in this case,) I realize I've forgotten to pick up everything I dropped when everything went to hell.

I opened up my first chapter re-write the other night, and went to a coffee shop specifically to write. I didn't even remember what I had put in the first chapter anymore. I had to re-read what I had put down, and it all felt so forced and robotic that it was honestly unpleasant. I felt like I was doing something wrong--like I must have been, because I remembered writing as being easy, and this time it wasn't. It's not true, of course. I was doing the same thing I have always done--the problem was that I was thinking about what I was doing.

That sounds weird, but bear with me. I'll explain it.

There is a book about art that I am quite in love with, even though I'm not much of an artist. It's called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," and it's all about approaching art from a new perspective. You see, in that book, there's a lot said about trying to draw an object. To paraphrase, the author says that if you draw, say, a pair of lips while thinking to yourself "These are a person's lips. Lips look like this." you are likely to be dissatisfied with how the lips turned out. Why is that? Because you drew what you think lips ought to look like, not a real pair of lips. So what does she recommend you say in your mind instead?

"Drawing a curve, and another curve, and this curve is a little steeper."

By disconnecting yourself from the idea of lips and just working with how they appear, you manage to create a much more true to life image. It's a piece of advice I found very useful when I was still considering being an artist.

So above, when I said I was thinking about what I was doing, that is what I meant. I was writing while thinking 'this is the verb, and this is the subject, and this is what is happening.' instead of what I usually think--which is nothing to do with writing at all. I think in my story. I think 'Oh, Erin's not going to like this one. Oop, I was right,she didn't like it. Let's see how they handle this one..."

So today, I'm writing this blog post to let my brain do all its external thinking. I'm letting it go "Letting is the verb, and should these quotes start with capital letters?" because in a very short time I'm going to open my first chapter again. I'm not going to read a damn thing except the last sentence, and then I'm going to freakin' WRITE. And it's going to make SENSE. And be FUN, damn it...

Much love to you all, my beloved followers and visitors! May all of your blocks be shattered--be they writer's, artist's, musician's, or a cement block you're trying to break for a martial arts competition. Though seriously, I wouldn't do that last thing...


  1. I'm *so* glad to know I'm not the only one who halts the fun things when life gets tough, or weird, or otherwise off kilter. Write on, dear Lucy, and welcome back. :)