Monday, January 4, 2010

The form of writing

I have been spending the past few days analysing how I write, and how I think my writing is supposed to happen. I am enjoying having my methods challenged.

So much of what I have been reading lately espouses the butt-in-the-chair approach; the sit-your-ass-down-and-write-already method of writing, leaving well-developed characters and highly researched plots at the door - not as a permanent approach, certainly, but as a means to get away from the "one day" mentality (as in, "one day I'll be a writer").

This approach liberates and scares me; inspires me to write and makes me roll my eyes at the utter chaos of it. It grinds up against my deeply-ingrained beliefs that writing is a defined process - defined by research, citation, track-down-able facts.

That is one way, of course. Not the only way, obviously. I love the idea of this new way, even as I sort of want to hold it at arm's length. It's like the seductive little sister of the grown up thoughts I have, whorishly baring her breasts at me, begging me to put aside my "data" and my "facts" and sit my ass down and write...

I was chatting with Mantramine ages ago about writing, and she asked me if I ever put loud music in my ears while I write. Music? No. Gross.

Until now.

My stick-in-the-mud ideas about the process of writing do not include music. No, when I write the only thing involved is my furrowed brow and my glasses on a chain around my neck. When I write I get my librarian skin on; my librarian is very stern-faced and serious.

Today I decided that some music might be a nice change. Just for something different. I'm trying out some new ideas, different ways of approaching writing, so climbing out of my librarian's skin seems like the most painful, perfect way to challenge myself.

And you know? It's a little bit awesome. Mantra gave me a gem.

I am reminded of the importance of of challenging myself, of not following my own patterns and habits just because. Today, just now, right this moment (okay, sometime between my shower this morning and that second cup of French press coffee that wired me to my eyeballs, but whatever) I acknowledged that sometimes just because I believe something to be right doesn't make it so.

The really neat thing about this particular lesson is that I don't always recognise it for what it is so I get to learn it over and over and over. Fun, huh?


Mantramine said...

Hey, you said my name :)

Music is fun sometimes, it takes it to a whole.notha.level

Jade said...

I love to write.... but I always thought I wasn't allowed to because my name wasn't Steinbeck, or Hemmingway, or .......

Jade said...

Lucky for us non-Steinbecks that's not the case. :)

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