<$Susan Goodwill$>

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nano #8-Feed the Muse

Here's a little meditation from The Writer's Life: Insights from The Right to Write by Julia Cameron.

One of the mysteries of the writing life is the fact that an investment of interest in column A—say listening to a great piece of music—will pay off obliquely when we set pen to paper on an entirely different topic. Writing is what we make from the broth of our experience. If we lead a rich and varied life, we will have a rich and varied stock of ingredients from which to draw on. If we lead a life that is too narrow, too focused, too oriented toward our goals, we will find our writing lacks flavor, is thin on the nutrients that make it both savory and sustaining. Although we tend to think of it as a linear, writing is a profoundly visual art. Even if we are writing about internal experience, we use images to do it. For this reason, we must consciously and constantly restock our store of images. We do this by focusing on what is around us.

My thoughts now. The middle of a book is HARD. Sue Grafton says her husband can tell when she hits around page 180. She gets angry, tearful, always wants to dump the "garbage" she's just written.

If you are blocked today take a minute or twenty to take a walk, look around. Take deep breaths and tell yourself your story. Or, if you're stressed, take deep breaths and focus on something entirely different from your story.

Shut your eyes and listen to music from the viewpoint of one of your characters. Would they love it, hate it, throw the iPod against the wall?

Leaf through a magazine and clip items that remind you of your story and your characters. Why do these items resonate with you?

Go to the dollar store and buy one item representative of your protagonist, another representative of your antagonist. Put them on your desk or carry them in your pocket as talismans.

Happy writing.