Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Writing What I Know

I used to have a problem with the phrase, "Write what you know," because many of the individuals who taught this ideology placed heavy emphasis on experiential learning. Only, not all of us "learn" that way, or go about life that way. I have to get my mind wrapped around a concept or some level of understanding before I can actually "know it." The result is, sometimes, that my "knowledge" isn't easily quantifiable, not even by myself.

Sure, when I plunge into something I start to see, through application of knowledge what "I know," --and what I don't--but all in all, there is very little in my life that I have learned by doing.

Cooking and Dress-up, are kinda the stuff I learned by doing.

Fantasy writing *could* fall in that category, mainly because I've wrestled with the proper story elements for so long and acquired increased understanding through analysis, that it has finally planted me on the right track. That said, those experiential-valuing instructors often indicated that writing fantasy was pure imagination. So perhaps by not *exactly* placing my fiction in the category of "what i know" I am validating them...


I am trying to write on topics I "know" to diversify what I *do* write. I want to be able to make a living as a writer (eventually) and that means writing topics (and exploring topics) which I know somewhat about and wish to explore more deeply. So I am!

I am trying to write recipes, and put all my knowledge of economical cooking into words. I am going to chart my progress learning to sew...

Just... on other blogs. But keeping prolific, while I can, and keeping focused--these are important. And so...I am :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Planning. Drafting. Doing.

The hardest part of writing is writing. I never believed this when I was a kid and not even a surgeon was likely to remove a pen from my fingers. However, it seems to me that the main issue with getting to the point of writing has been (for me) the assumption that i can do it at any time.

I mean, if I can write literally anytime, just sit down and go for it...why should I choose this very minute? When the laundry is overflowing? If the dishes are climbing out of the sink, it isn't a good time for writing, right? When a high school friend calls me on a Friday night to say: "Hey, I'm gonna be in town this weekend, you free?" the reaction comes all too easily: "Of course!" and writing is put on hold for a morning, which ends up including the afternoon and then I'd return home to dishes and laundry.

The "not right now" turns into "not today," and can become, "oh...wait, what have I done this week?" all too easily.

Life intrudes, and not until the grumpiness sets in, and stress descends all too easily about things that really shouldn't inspire any level of frustration...not till then do I realize just how essential it is to write Now. For myself, my mood, and my life.

So I get caught up in the planning, when I'm out in the world. Walking down the street, or taking the train into town. My characters make themselves known in my mind when I'm not, that moment, able to write. It's their vengeance, I suppose.

I try to channel the thoughts into notebooks. I plan the world, the story, try out snippets of scenes and short stories. Bits of writing float about, unfinished, to collect on a messy floor.

But that chair. To sit and to write, to focus on this moment...sometimes it takes more will, more insight into self than I have anymore. Sometimes, I am caught up in so many plans, so many obligations, that sometimes keeping the simple pledges that I made to myself get set aside for longer than I mean to.

So here is to simplifying life, to cutting down and back on my obligations. Here's to renewing my commitment to myself, my writing--and my chair.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Blog Reboot

I think I got a little lost in the trees. There are times that I see something that I want to do and I go after it, only to lose myself along the way. I guess I have a tendency towards obsession, and whenever I reexamine the road to which I have pledged myself, it gets larger. I'm just not good at paring down.

Most recently this has happened with SWS. In the past it happened with my novel--which is now requiring a ground-up rewrite because of just how unwieldy it became (see? stubbornness--I'm going to completely re imagine everything rather than shelf the thing). But, when I step away and kind of look at the whole thing through a new set of glasses, I find the essence of the thing--of me--enmeshed in the center (because, you see, the two are a bit allegorical).

Perhaps this is a major personality flaw. I mean--I also have a cluttered home.

I have a hard time paring down my stuff, my life, my novel, my non-profit scheme....

Geez...I *do* seem to over complicate things. So I spent the night cleaning, I picked more minimalistic blog templates, and I am going to try to prioritize the things I need to reach my goals, those that are personal to myself and those I share with the tall guy standing next to me in the picture above.