And what makes the right word or phrase come when you need it the most? Sometimes I just have to stop and give thanks, overwhelmed by the magic that is the creative process.
I should say first off that I am in intuitive writer. I can’t outline (in college I wrote all my outlines for papers AFTER I wrote the paper.) Pre-plotting in any standard fashion isn’t something that works for me. Deconstructing scenes for what is wrong or looking through a book and identifying the many layers and what they all mean/symbolize/or are supposed to accomplish makes me feel like I am in a foreign country driving on the wrong side of the road – I’m moving forward but I’m never quite comfortable that I know where I’m going or that I will get there in one piece.
That means I rely an awful lot on instinct in my writing and instinct, like the muse, can be a temperamental friend. Which makes last night all the most special to me. It was one of those perfect writing times when all the planets line up just so and the words come out of their hiding places, creeping, crawling, marching down my arm and onto the page, rearranging themselves into a poem I didn’t even know was missing from the book until I saw the finished lines on the page. And when I read the words, dinking with them here and there, playing around to find the perfect metaphor (and where do THOSE hide by the way?) when I read what is now the second poem in the book, I knew that it was exactly the right poem in exactly the right place and that if I looked closer, even I would be able to see how it set the stage for the crash that is just around the corner. Even I could see that it would lull the reader into thinking that things weren’t really bad as they were when they were really so much worse than they could imagine. Even I knew it was just what the book needed. Which certainly made cutting 8 other poems much easier.
I guess sometimes we just have to learn to trust not just ourselves or the process but the story. The answers are always in the story, if you look close enough.
Wow, Susan — inspiring stuff.
“The answers are always in the story, if you look close enough.”
This is so true! The other day
quoted this in her journal:
“In order to create my best work, I’ve discovered that I must be willing to make myself vulnerable, to start from a place of not knowing. If I’m driven by the need to impress others, I can’t afford to be undefended. But if it’s the work itself that’s guilding me, I can open myself to continual discovery. Instead of asking, “Is this good?” I can ask, “What does my work need? Where is it taking me? What is the piece trying to say or be, and what’s the next step to further that? Worries about recognition are replaced with an ongoing commitment to discerning the nature of the work I am pursuing, and to be in service to it.”
— Illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien, writing in this month’s SCBWI Bulletin
I feel the same way about writing, especiall this part – But if it’s the work itself that’s guilding me, I can open myself to continual discovery. So true. So true. 🙂
ohhh, I love those “perfect writing times.” They are what make the long dry spells bearable.
I am one, too. Maybe we can form a support group. I would even consider myself an after plotter, even on revision. I write from intuition and not from an outline, though I wish I could do it the other way. It makes me feel better to hear about your process. Your perfect writing evening sounds wonderful. Here’s to many more this week…
I write from inspiration and intuition
No outline for me. . .just the wind lol
You know, Susan… you are wise.
I love learning from your insightful entries.