Saturday, March 22, 2008

Not knowing

So I try to do this everyday. That is what writing practice is all about. Sit your but down and do it. But I wonder if I exhaust everyone trying to read me. Perhaps one of you thinks—oh no Tina is blogging again. I should perhaps make people wait longer. Maybe in between they may wish for more. If only Tina would give me a writing exercise. Maybe then there would be more of a demand for me. But that is not the point. This is my writing practice. Everyday I sit here and type out my blog. This is my mindfulness practice. I am dedicated to this. This is what I do. This is the work.

I got feedback today about slowing down. That I should linger in some of the things happening on my first page. I think my rush through the prose does not come from such a different place than the worrying that I’m exhausting people with my endless posting. “Okay, already," the reader taps her toes and checks her watch.

I have been very stuck on what the reader is thinking and feeling and what I don’t know about it. But I think my thoughts are in that place because that is the part of the process I am at. I still need to flip the brain over to the creative side but yet I have to consider how it is working on someone else. Doesn't that require the critical brain? I have the story. Everything is there. I know these people and what motivates them. I just need to craft it for the reader. I wish the story would tell me what it wants. But I'm afraid that I have to decide. First person or third person. Plot and conflict. How much does the reader need to know on the first page? And eventually language. That has go to be last. What does this have to do with writing practice?

Sit down and do it. That is my practice: these thoughts. Each step along the way is the confusion and insecurity. It is all part of the writers problem. When to flip the brain from where the ideas keep coming to the one where we’re crafting something that hits someone in the gut. Or is this all part of the same thing.

The words today jerk on the line like hooked muskellunge. They are tugging and pulling and there is no flow. I have come to find that I must accept that, as I have to accept my tendency to rush through the things that I’m not sure anyone wants to hear. And I have practiced long enough that I know that means there’s something beneath the surface. Could it be an enormous sturgeon? When it comes, I will accept it too.

As always,

Writing Exercise:
Write without editing and work on noticing your thoughts (right now my son is bouncing through the house on an exercise ball and my daughter is asking me how to spell birthday and I am noticing that I feel frustrated). Accept it as it comes out, with all the misspellings and awkward words. Messy and out of order, half formed, and undeveloped. Accept them for what they are and keep writing. The work is what matters.