Thursday, July 16, 2020

Wading Through Glue

I've been wading through the glue.

At least that what it feels like.  Day after day, I "visit" my novel-in-progress and day after day, I write, but lately it's been rough-going. 

Lately, I've looked around and found that nothing looked familiar and I thought--I'm lost!  I'm lost!  

And there's no GPS for a novel.

(Well, there is--it's called structure, the Aristotlean Arc, the narrative drive, the hero's journey, the artists way, bird by bird, and the cat that needs to be saved--but let's not talk about that right now.)

I've been walking around the fields here on the farm and reading books on Paris.  I've been drawing and painting and trying on lots of cute outfits.  Oh, and cleaning house.  It's amazing how clean your house gets when you feel blocked!

Still, I've read my Hemingway and I do what Papa said I should do--just show up.  So, every morning I show up.  And every afternoon, as the summer sun fades, I re-read pages and edit, just like Hemingway.    
 But, it's frustrating and slow-going and I do feel as if I'm wading through glue.

But ah--yesterday, I had a break-through!

And then today, eureka!  It began to flow.  I was happy.  I fell back in love with my story and my characters.

How did I do it?  I didn't actually do anything.  And yet, I did everything.  The main thing I did was I wrote everyday, no matter what.  I wrote badly many days.  However, I yell at the screen and scold my novel for misbehaving?  No!  I was kind to my novel.  It wasn't her fault, after all.  And, most importantly, I never gave up!  I just showed up!

This brings me to my latest writing prompt:

Wake up and write one sentence.  That's all.  Okay, you can write two, but no more than that!

If you need a word to get you started, how about "blue."

Okay, now, go for a walk.  Try not to think about your sentence (but you will).  Then return and take a shower.  Don't think about that sentence (but you will).  Now, lie down for twenty minutes and try not to think about that sentence (but you will).   And finally, begin.  Write for ten minutes--although you'll probably go for longer than this.  Do this again tomorrow and the next day.

This is how you begin a practice.

(This system comes from Dorothea Brande's book "Becoming a Writer".)

And when you're not writing.  Live your life, knowing that a part of your mind and heart still carries your story with you, and this is because you visit everyday, like a good friend.  A trustworthy confidant.  Someone who shows up.  Someone who's willing to wade through the glue.

Oh, and for more ideas on how to unleash your creativity, please take a look at my little creation, The Writers Toolbox.

Enjoy your week, friends.  I'll be back next Saturday with another writing prompt!  
Thank you!

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