owl in winter

owl in winter

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Process, or Part of it Anyway

I spent part of my day today with a dear friend, who lives in a different town. Her husband recently lost his job and mentioned to me today that since he is out of work and has time, he has given a lot of thought to writing a book. He really wants to write a book. He has all these thoughts in his head and wants to do something with them. Bravo! Seriously, I wish I could have stayed longer, drunk some wine, and shared some thoughts I have with him but, as I had obligations in Springfield, I journeyed back home, only being able to share this with him before I departed, "Get the words out of your head and on paper. Don't worry about anything else, just get the words out."

We probably have, at some point in our writing careers, had somebody come out and shake the red pen at us and cry, "format, format, format!" I even know of one person who claims to format as she goes.

Well and good, I suppose. Formatting has its place, do not get me wrong but a first draft is all about getting the words out of your head and on paper. Creativity does not breathe in a box. I notice that when I start becoming concerned about formatting as I am writing, the process shuts down. It becomes mechanical, dry, passionless.

I don't want to write that way. Do you?

Now having said that, I don't want anyone to perceive that I don't know there is discipline in writing because I know there is. You have to do it often, every day is best, you have to push through barriers and keep your thoughts and stories alive. The point is, do not worry about having perfect sentence structure or proper margins or starting every new chapter halfway down the page. Do open your mind and let what's in your mind flow out onto your medium, paper or computer screen, whatever you are using. Let it flow. When the appropriate time comes, you can and should and will go back and refine.

Get the words out of your head an on paper.

Just do that and in time, you will find your rhythym.

Make sense?

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