Anytime someone wants to start something new, a career or exercise program or hobby, they usually acquire information about it and begin to read about and interview how others have done what they’d like to do. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve gleaned more information than I can remember by reading about the journey of others, the tips and techniques that have worked for those who have gone before me. When I started to write down the stories in my head that wouldn’t go away, I created my own particular method.
I continue to study writing by taking classes at a community college and attending workshops given by other authors. Some of the exercises completed were centered around story arch, character building, including different types of conflict, and practicing various points of view. The more I tried to follow the instructor’s formula for writing a short story or poem, the harder the writing became. I preferred the days when I could sit down, anywhere, and the words would just come. Though I haven’t had a million people read my work, the ones that have, haven’t mentioned issues that they’ve picked out in my writing having to do with character, description, plot, or point of view. I continue to listen to fellow writers share the information and ideas they get from blogs and conferences. I wonder how much they do incorporate those techniques.
What I’ve realized, is that this blog is a paradox! The way I go about writing and creating is my own. I rarely glean helpful information from others. What works for them, likely won’t work for me. Oh, I do pick up a few things here and there, I’m attentive and take notes when I listen to someone give a talk, but what helps me the most has to do with getting unstuck (which is all about fear), being reminded to include certain things in my writing, or ways to tweak sentences. That I can utilize. What isn’t helpful, is how writers go about the act of putting words on paper. Just as every teacher has their own way of disseminating information, for every writer, there is a unique process for how they put words on paper. If you find a method that ensures you get the seat time to get your project done, the last thing you’ll want to do is mess with the process!
In this blog, I attempt to give suggestions on how to generate ideas, develop creativity, protect the artist from inner and outer critics, the importance of art in life, and hopefully offer encouragement and inspiration to those struggling with the creative act. At the same time, I find it increasingly difficult to use others’ suggestions for the same thing! I’m not so arrogant as to believe that my writing can’t improve, or that I have all the answers, or that I’ll never again learn anything from another creative person. But I have discovered what works for me. I guess that’s what I’m hoping I can do for others: help them figure out what works for them to get started, and continue to be creative.
Patrick Ness so rightly puts it: “No one can tell you how to write, they can only tell you how they write.”
Besides this blog that is sometimes ignored, I have writing tips on my website as well as examples of my work: www.myjoyenterprises.com
Do you have suggestions on how people can use what they read or learn about from others in their own creative journey?