They say a writer is endlessly fascinated by one’s own self – and I suppose that’s true for most of humanity. But if you can make it sound interesting and thought provoking in the way you say it, there lies a small achievement. In my opinion a writer’s life is like a wheel of a bicycle – with multiple spokes criss-crossing….but in essence repetitive. So here’s a list of that I came up with to try and understand this act of self-expression:
- The grandiose vision – where writing is a magical, spiritual exercise with bursts of passion and thoughts pouring out faster than it can be written down.
The antidote – read this article on why writing should really be a prosaic, disciplined mode of expression from the Guardian by Oliver Burkeman What’s the secret of good writing?
- The snowflake idea – that brilliant golden nugget that lands lighter than a snowflake (while in the kitchen, or whilst driving, walking, washing up…) only to melt away before you can reach for the smartphone/notepad/piece of serviette.
My solution – to play a memory game to check if I’ve retained it…only to discover that my notion of memory needs serious reconsideration.
- Journal writing – in the hope that there will be that moment of epiphany. Julia Cameron in The Artist’s way believes this is the surefire way to unblock the creative sludge and release the flow.
My experience – each time you open that lovely Moleskin diary or the quirky notebook made from handmade paper out of elephant dung or the one with the pretty picture of English bluebells printed in China, there is a comfort, a secret pleasure of spending alone time with you and the paper. Sometimes you or I might find ourselves on the seashore, in the bosom of a beautiful forest or woodland…only to discover that we write the same thing over and over again – reinventing the wheel you might even say 😉 Just have a look at those entries over the years gone by and be very surprised.
- The hope that sheer unstinting dedication and commitment to the cause will result in a work to be proud of. Hence the choked thoughts eked out onto the blank screen, filling a mere few lines. Let’s call it flash fiction today, it might be free verse tomorrow. Will another novel happen? Can I ever write a short story that is 8000 words long?
I could add to this list but the fact is that the chain on the bike keeps getting caught and coming off on changing gears. So, on this frosty February morning, with the clear blue skies and crisp, cold sunshine, I wait for the time when my freezing fingers will thaw enough to actually play this keyboard the way I want it to.