Go out for a coffee on a rainy day. Sit in your car and drink it all by yourself. Turn off the radio, and listen to the hum of the engine and the patter of water on the hood, running down the windshield. Tell yourself a story in a low, sentimental voice between thoughtful sips of hot, sweet caffeine. Feel the inspiration come.
Writing is not like dancing or modeling. With those art forms, your peak is twenty and it’s all downhill from there. With writing, time and age does nothing but enhance and build one’s skill and understanding. So stop stressing out, trying to write the perfect story right now, and realize that it might not come until you are sixty. But when it does, it will be amazing, formed out of all you’ve done before.
The Doughnut Principle:
If you can substitute a character in a book or film with a doughnut and still have the plot make sense, it is probably a poorly constructed character.
A quote from Ray Bradbury:
If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don’t even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is – excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health.
When was the last time you wrote something out of sheer fun or pure love?
They say writing is cathartic, and I would be the first to affirm its therapeutic properties. But there are also some wounds that it cannot patch, no matter how poetic or literary your style. Some holes cannot be filled with words.
Sometimes stories are like naughty children. No matter how many times you put them to bed and shut the light, they pop back up and run out of their little room again, crying ‘Pay attention to me! Write about me next!’
I suppose the only way to get rid of these annoying brainchildren is to simply write their stories. It will give you something to do in the meanwhile, and who knows, maybe something great will come of it?
Summer has started again, and I’m once again in the throes of absolute slothfulness. I’m going to have to start putting together a daily schedule to work with, or else I’m not going to get anything done this month. Writing should probably be at the top of that list . . . Maybe I’ll go back to writing three pages a day and see where it takes me. Remember that adventure?
Certain words feel similar to me – either they feel related in my mouth when I say them, or they invoke a certain color or smell. For example:
Page. Magic. Squirrel. Whisper. Flamingo. Dustbin. Cricket. Anthropologist.
These words have similar feelings, even though they are not necessarily connected in meaning. Is it just me, or does throwing the word ‘Truck’ in there seem to mess up the fragile sequence? A good, satisfying sentence results when similar words are grouped into arrangements like bouquets of flowers on the page.
Your muse is a jealous lover, and the pact you enter into with her is dangerous, all-consuming, and demands your dedication. She won’t be cast aside and wait patiently for you to return to her. She’ll snatch you away from more pressing matters with a sudden burst of inspiration and that itch to write at the base of your skull. Or she’ll leave you, let you stagnate in front of a blank page for weeks, if you do not give her the constant attention that she demands.
To appease my muse, I think I will go to a cafe and sit quietly and listen to her, pen in hand, free from other distractions. Maybe then she’ll learn to love me again . . .