Sunday, March 17, 2013

Write As If You Mean It

I'm listening to Stephen King tell his story. How he came to writing. His favorite genres. How as a child he was influenced by this or that, his brother, his mother. His teachers. His opinions. I read a paper copy of "On Writing" previously and enjoyed it, was inspired by it. So the information is not completely new, although some of it I didn't remember. So listening to him read his book is good and I hear more in the words when they come from his mouth.

I don't remember Stephen King saying "Write as if you mean it," but some of his words are similar to that, or conceptually similar to that in my opinion. Others have uttered that concept, as well.

Stephen King has a lot to say about reading and writing. About writing in your voice, writing your stories with your set of linguistics, writing with your own toolbox and he has some great words of advice about how to pack your writer's toolbox.

But, again, I find myself questioning if I'm a "real" writer after awhile. Because right now I'm not filling every spare minute with writing or reading. Because sometimes I do zone out watching an episode of Weeds or Bones or X-Files on streaming Netflix - rarely, but once in a great while. Sometimes I do play Sherlock, a logic puzzle game, on the computer or a game of Hand and Foot against the computer. Then I'm not writing.

And I think: wait. Sometimes my brain does need a bit of down time. When I take a mental break - and even better when I take a physical break - I am inspired. When I can let down, relax, let go, I can create. If all I do is go and go and go then I burn out before I get anything down. Although I will admit that sometimes, when I'm busy, creative ideas are generated - just not much generated in terms of action.

I started to type: "so I search for a balance - " and I realized that it's not the balance I'm looking for. Looking for balance is like searching the night sky in a metropolitan area for the tiniest star: it may be there, but you can't see it. "Balance" seems like a set up for failure. Instead I think I look for a minimal wobble teeter-totter.  And perhaps that is a up too close look. If I back off a bit to the big picture, then I suppose maybe the wobble would appear more balanced.

Note to self.

When it gets to actually putting word on page I think the important thing is to believe in what you're writing. Write as if you mean it, even if you're not sure. Intention is at least half the battle, right?

If I'm sitting down to write and I doubt that what I'm doing is any good or that I have a right to write, then, well, you know. I don't have to tell you. You have to believe in what you're doing. That is a message Stephen King would support, I believe, and it's one thing I extrapolated from "On Writing." I appreciate the reminder that as a writer I can't let other writers, famous or local or unknown/imagined bring down my writing before I even get it out.

I, the writer, have to believe in my own writing. That doesn't mean to not get feedback or listen to advice. But at some point I have to say that this is mine and that this is what I want to write and, and, so there.

I have to write as if I mean it. And then keep writing and it will be true.

Tomorrow I interpret the Oregon State finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition. This will be the fourth performance event I've interpreted in two weeks; the final event in a month of preparation. That is what has been filling my time, along with theater-related blog posts, a few posts here in The Writing Vein, and editing the memoir.



I held this post, hoping to revise and find a good picture. The title doesn't sit well with me. But there it is and here I am and the Poetry event is done. It went well; the contestants were excellent; and "we rocked it." Our interpretations were, for the most part, right on the mark in alignment with the goal of what we're doing - what the contestants are doing.

I finished the Stephen King audiobook on the way home from the VRS shift I did after interpreting the poetry. Just in time to move on to a fiction book. And I closed it just as I closed the physical version I read a few years ago, satisfied, inspired, and accepting a good percentage of what he said.

So as I listened to the last chapter of the book as I drove home in the dark and the rain, I also downloaded the first section of the book I want to read (listen to) next. Time to grab some fiction time between plays - I have just over three weeks before preparation on the next one begins.

And I packed up the section of my book I'm editing for Monday's submission to my writing group.

I'm back full circle.

Reading, writing, editing.