Friday, August 20, 2010

Practicing what I preach

Today was a Writing Friday gathering and I didn't feel much like writing. I've been in deep reflection since my last session with my therapist on Wednesday and didn't really feel like pulling out of that to plunge into my novel. In addition, I hadn't solved the issue for the novel that I'd been mulling over all week--how to reveal a key piece of information to my heroine and to the reader. I'd come up with two solutions but one was prosaic and the other one I couldn't quite make happen logistically. So I felt stuck and the muse wasn't giving me ideas and I didn't want to "waste my time" without the solution.

At the same time, I didn't want to wimp out. As a writing coach, I feel it important to set a good example and to practice what I preach. And I often preach the need to keep writing even when you don't know what you are doing. A huge part of the creative process is keeping on keeping on even when you don't know what comes next. Because in art-making, there are no mistakes, just experiments that do or don't work out.

So I went out to the terrace (it was a gorgeous day here in Portland--cool, sunny, 70s, and my terrace was just a heavenly place to be. I set up my laptop, and took the last three sentences from last Friday's writing as my prompt and just let my hands be guided. I kept coming back to trust, trusting the muse would show up, trusting my imagination would work and it did.

I discovered I needed to write another small section before I could reveal this part of the mystery and a great idea came up at the perfect moment. And I wrote that next chapter.

Then after lunch, I was about to move away from the computer, read a couple of articles I'd been meaning to get to, but then I thought, hey, it worked this morning. Go back to the story and see what come's next and I wrote another good chapter. Not as great, not as clear, but a good first draft. Very pleased tonight.

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