30 September, 2012

A Trick for Getting Un-Stuck

When I first started posting every first and third Sunday, I meant to post every other week.  But September is a jerk that has three Sundays, so here's a brief extra one.

Recently I was feeling stuck writing my novel.  My ideas for how to move the story forward felt trite.  I plot as I go along, so all I was asking from myself was an extremely rough outline.  So I made one.

I was annoyed at my trite ideas, so I told them off as I wrote them down.  This journey sucks, I said.  This boring straight highway happens, then I'll swerve left at Tritesville and finally we'll wind up here in Idiotsberg.

As I did this, I was letting my imagination flow.  "Zen and gusto," Ray Bradbury used to say.  I was being emotional about my writing, and next thing I knew things didn't look trite at all. 

You see, I was bored with my work.  There's a saying that if you're bored with your own story you can bet the reader will be, too.  But after letting my ideas spill out, I wasn't bored.  I got excited and wound up with an extremely rough outline that I'm happy with--even proud of.

In retrospect, it was actually quite telling that I was angry.  "Zen and gusto."  That means being emotional about your work.  I believe my story deserves to be great, so when it seemed inadequate, I was angry.  I'm sure I'll get angry again and again as I move forwards, and I'll try to remember to savour that feeling, because all it means is I'm trying my hardest.  I'm in love with my story and I hate the thought of it stinking.

It's a simple trick--just writing the ideas regardless of any doubts.  It's letting go, savouring love and hate and finding the floodgates they represent.

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