Writing is like baking a banana bread, you have ingredients: banana’s, flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking soda. You mix them all in a bowl and that goop goes into a bread pan, into the hot oven to transform the goop into a delicious banana bread. Writing is very much the same, you put words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, those words extend onto pages mixed with a plot, climax and ending. It’s all very exciting to watch the story unfold.
It can take some time to find the right ingredients for your story. I would love if you could go to a grocery store and pick up a box of plots, a dozen of characters and a carton of twists and endings. Sometimes creativity and imagination are sitting right in front of you, ready to work at my finger tips, but sometimes I have to motivate myself. It’s not creativity’s fault, it’s always ready to play, it wants to be made and made through us. It might be me who needs to pay more attention to the ingredients, maybe I need to step out-of-the-way more so that creativity can take over.
As I make my way through Marcia Golub’s, I’d Rather be Writing, I find myself nodding and laughing out loud from her truth of the writer’s life.
But there is one sort of cooking I excel at. That is the kind that uses a computer, not an oven. I’ve found that after a piece of writing takes its shape, it needs to be put aside a while. No amount of struggling and straining will be as effective in helping your improve a piece of writing as a simple break from it.
When I wrote my first draft of my manuscript I was a like mad scientist, day in and day out, filled so much excitement to get to the page, I couldn’t stay away. Then when I was done I went back to revise and noticed I was not as excited, in fact I wanted to give it away to someone else to deal with. I had over done it, I was fully cooked so to speak. I took a break on and off from the piece and when I went back to it I was rejuvenated and ready to focus on the writing.
First drafts are learning what your novel or story is about. Revision is working with that knowledge to enlarge or enhance and idea, or reform it. ~ Bernard Malamud
Don’t take a long break from your piece, sometimes the idea will get impatient and you might find the idea show up somewhere else. Meaning, someone else received the same idea and they wrote it and followed through by sharing it, getting it published and poof! You see it on the shelf at a book store.
I have to remind myself that I can’t waste any more time with “waiting” around. I ask myself ‘What am I waiting for?’ Sometimes, I’m not sure, but deep down I know. Fear, fear of the unknown. So I tell my ego to take a time out and I keep moving forward.
Until next time, keep on typing. . . .