Writing as an Act of Discovery
Here's something I forget:
We write to figure things out.
We write to discover what we know.
We write to uncover what we don't know.
We sit down to the page and think we have to be experts.
We sit down to write and think it has to come out perfect.
We sit down at the computer and agonize over every word.
When, really, the best thing to do is sit down and have at it, without concern or care toward what comes out. Because writing is rewriting. And the real work of shaping a story comes in the second, third, or ever fifth or tenth draft. Which gives you a glorious excuse to throw caution to the wind and have a wonderful time writing what comes out of your head and through your fingers.
Don't expect yourself to know everything because you don't. But you can figure out a whole heckuva lot by writing. It's why we journal–to figure out stuff about ourselves. It's why we write memoirs–to figure out stuff about our lives. It's why we write fiction–to figure out stuff about the world.
I was interviewed on a radio show this past weekend (link is at the lower right, it's the Blog Talk Radio banner) and we talked about how when you are laboring over every word, you're clinched up, like you've made two fists and your entire body is tense. When you're writing freely and easily, the exact opposite is true–your body is relaxed and so are you. Isn't that a better way to go?
What is your writing process? Do you allow yourself to write freely or do you tense up and make certain every word is perfect before moving on? Does your current process work for you?
Create a successful, inspired writing life: Choose a topic, any topic. It might be something to do with your current project. For instance, this morning I worked on backstory for my main character. Now take pen and paper and write until you've exhausted everything you know on that topic. And believe me, more will come to you as you write.
Photo by Gerbrak.