This post is targeting writers, but really it's for all artists—everyone (whether a home-maker or a mechanic).
To start, I will say this to the writers. I am not an expert on craft, so I have nothing for you there. That is your job as a writer to go find a teacher, a craft book and/or a writing group. There are many good teachers on-line, as well.
Structuring your writingFor as many writers as are out there, there are just as many ways to structure your:
- Writing time
- Writing style
- The way you get inspiration
- The way you execute that inspiration
Too many writers worry about the how of the above (pantser vs. plotter), effectively freezing their energy and leaving them incapacitated by the shoulds and should nots.
Every writer must find his own way, ultimately, but the Art (dance, visual, written…music) must be studied and learned before beginning to practice professionally (there’s another should—but this is different, so take heed). You’ve heard it before but I repeat it:
Before you can break the rules, you must know the rules.
Too many young writers are throwing their work out there (publication) and are then getting discouraged because no one is interested/excited/buying (but sometimes that latter one is not because of skill).
The Emotional component
There are basic, underlying structures that are at play upon which your art is founded. If you fail to know what those structures are, your creation will lack the strength and power it might otherwise have—a nice way to say it might suck.
As I’ve said, I’m not an expert in craft instruction—so to me, when a piece fails (aside from writing skill), it’s because it’s lacking the proper empowerment (the blueprint or keys to a reader’s emotions—and emotions are what hook a reader. Not all keys fit the locks on all reader’s doors. So you want to have as many keys as possible to open the most doors (emotional and mental triggers).
Sometimes the trigger is a love of words strung together in a beautiful, compelling way. Other times, and for more readers today, I think, the hook is the emotional tug at the heart, the recognition that the writer knows what the reader is feeling and is talking to her. Then the reader gets caught up and is carried along.
So, if you’ve learned your craft, and understood this emotional component, where do you go from there? How do you get inspired? It is said, just plant your bottom in a chair and start. I disagree, but then if you’ve been following me any length of time, you know I'm ornery and disagree with the status quo a lot.
Art is not created in a vacuum
Sometimes you need to get away from the books and the thinking and just be in life. Rub up against others and experience, exchange ideas and absorb living before you are able to transmute those experiences effectively into art.
Live life to be able to write about it in a compelling way. Be an Auntie Mame and go for it.
I have a novel that I started but had to put aside to finish the present one (which is now sitting with a publisher-smile). I decided that this time I am going to organize it in a plotter's way (I’ve been so pantser in the past). So, I am taking my own advice and am going to the ocean, to Monterey, California this month to get re-invigorated and focused—expressly on that novel--my own writer retreat. I intend to complete it more quickly than I did my last one. I’m embracing the new experiences and stimulation my days at the coast will undoubtedly have—because I expect as much. (rubbing my hands gleefully)
If you are at that same moment in your writing, don't just dream of a writer's retreat, create your own—go forth to be inspired and energized.
Then go and write.
Then go and write.
Where are you in your writing? Need inspiration?