A post written by Disco Mermaid’s Robin reminded me of another post I had started writing and saved – it was that mad time in July when I was being a mom 24/7 – and sure enough, here it is, in my draft box :
I’m reading books on the process of writing, at the moment. About three at the same time. That way, I can follow the kids moving around the house – and they move fast – and not have to worry about where I left the book. One in the bedroom, one in my office, one on the table in the dining/living room, always readily available. I thought I’d quote some of the thoughts I found interesting.
Art and Fear, Observations on The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland
“Often the work we have not done seems more real in our minds that the pieces we have completed.”
That phrase certainly hit home. How easy it is to forget the thousands and thousands of words and phrases that we crafted, the drafts, the stories unfinished, to only remember the few pieces that are deemed good enough for submission, and to despair, to think it’s not enough. But every single word written, whether it belongs to a completed story or not, participates in our process as writers.
The second chapter’s title is the same as the book, and begins with a quote by Stephen DeStaebler.
“Artists don’t get down to work until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain of NOT working.”
Jane Yolen would probably disagree (Take Joy) and yet, I think both approaches are true. My biggest challenge is to start ! To actually sit down at the computer to work on my writing, rather than finding every possible excuse to procrastinate – like this blog ? That’s the painful part for me. Once I actually start working, I forget the time, I forget the world, I can even forget my family – well, not quite, but almost. And even though it’s work, that work does give me joy. What’s painful is the guilt I feel, the unease, the judgemental voice I hear in my mind, telling me that I ought to make time, I ought to organize myself better, I ought to write. I think that what Stephen DeStaebler means is that when the voice becomes strident, forceful, unbearable, the artist has no choice but to get down to work.
What I can add, after having been almost totally disconnected from the writing world for a few weeks, is that it’s easy for everyday life to take over – especially when there are little children around, but not only – and muffle the voice of the writer. Which is probably why all books and quotes I’ve read about the creative process seem to agree on at least two things : the famous butt on chair rule – write everyday, no matter what, even if it’s only for ten minutes – and find time to “being” as opposed to “doing” in order to reflect, to meditate if you are into that, or just do nothing, walk and look at the world, at the trees, the sky, whatever, the goal being to connect with our inner self, where creativity – our whimsical muse – is seating, waiting, or coquettishly playing hard to get.
Well, now that I know what to do, guess I just have to do it, right ?