I’ve been so busy the last couple of weeks; mainly with Kathy Fish’s Fast Flash workshop (which I can strongly recommend), and I’m away in Yorkshire at the moment so I don’t have too much time for blogging. I’m already a little behind so I’ll post S and T today and will get back on it tomorrow!
Over the course of this blogging challenge I’ve discussed my writing obstacles; a couple being apathy and self-doubt. Another problem I have is the issue of success. Just yesterday a good friend asked me my reasons for writing. She wondered whether it was purely for my own enjoyment or because I wanted to be successful. It’s a good question and I have to say that it’s a mixture of both. I have always written, mainly diaries when I was younger but then short stories and features more recently, and although I’d love to reach the stage where I’m making money from writing, success for me is more about my work being noticed e.g. by being shortlisted or placed in a competition. It’s not really a question of being paid for my work (of course this would be nice!). Any kind of acknowledgement confirms to me that I have ability and is a sign that I should keep going with it.
I thought and thought about this (!!) and decided that I’d like to recommend a great article, To Write Stop Thinking by Joe Fassler in The Atlantic which was provided as inspiration on the fast flash workshop I’ve just taken.
In it, Kathryn Harrison says,
When I’m writing the way I want, the way I love, which is without thinking about what I’m writing, a strange thing happens: I feel simultaneously the most myself I could possibly be, and at the same time totally relieved of self.
I feel that what the writer is saying is that by writing without thinking, you connect with your essence. You’re not focusing on the best words to use, or how to get your message across, you are simply getting the words down and that is when the magic occurs.
When I did NaWriMo in November, I tried to do regular word sprints, which involved setting the timer for 15-30 minutes and writing as fast as possible. I found that in this way I created scenes and got to know my characters, something that would have been more difficult had I sat down and planned it.
Thinking about what to write can often drive you crazy. You’re desperate for this incredible idea that can sometimes only come if it’s given space to breathe. In this situation I always find that writing a few tentative words is enough to get you started. No matter how rubbish you think those words are, it’s important to keep going and get something down. It’s very likely there’ll be a few little gems in there.