22 September 2008

Stuck: Talking About Writing, Part Two

A really good point was raised in the comment section of my post last week on knowing what it is we're doing when we write: sometimes, we can get so engrossed in the how of writing, the what gets stuck. Here's my take on that:

Over on my other blog, Labr-adore, I posted last week about a sudden insight I had into myself, my life, and the way I approach things. In comparing my attitude towards and enthusiam for both dogs and writing, I realised that I seem to go through a 'pattern of attraction'. I start out, wildly enthused, obsessed, infatuated. Then I realise how much I have yet to learn, and I slump into depression. Gradually time passes, and I gain experience, and something hits me - it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I try, and fail. It doesn't matter that what I write now, or how I train now, won't be the best that I ever do. I'm trying, and the act of trying is the act of growth. And I come full circle, returning to an enthusiasm for my project - but this time tempered. Passion, but not unrestrained. A true love of what I do, informed by the knowledge of how difficult it will be - and loving it just the same.

Writing. Growth. You can't write without growing, even if it's only by the tiniest amount. And every time you grow, all that 'stuff' that you're supposed to know, the theory, the whys, the hows... gradually, it fades into the background.

You still know it, of course. But it doesn't live constantly at the forefront of your mind. Like training the basic triple step of swing dancing into your muscle memory, so that where once you were falling over just trying to balance whilst dancing the steps you can now hold a conversation, brush your teeth, and juggle a flaming baton while doing them... Like learning to drive a manual, where at first all your attention is focused on that clutch and easing it out, and you concentrate fiercely until one day, you jump into an automatic and reach for the gearstick and clutch out of instinct... Like learning anything, one day, you write something - and you realise it's good. And you didn't think about technique once while you were doing it.

In the meantime, what do you do?

Practice. That's all you can do.


Just_Me said...

Very true.

The more I write the easier it is to piece together plot, conflict, and interaction. Characters in my first books always seem a little.... Mary Sue? Too perfect with lives that are too easy. Practice (and good beta-readers) have taught me that conflict makes a book interesting. If my characters aren't fighting for their very lives something is hideously wrong.

Inkblot said...

Yeah, I'm really noticing it in my work too. My raw drafts are slowly, slowly becoming less raw. Which is lovely, since it cuts down on editing time! :D

Ashtah said...

"Practice" ...Yep, that's a very important thing to do! Looking forward to the 11th of November, the hoped for end of uni, and some time to do just that!!

Inkblot said...

Whee! *also looking forward to it* I want to read more of your writing! :)

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