This is primarily a reminder to myself that writing is about getting to the end. Writing is not constantly circling and hovering above the story like a vulture picking up scraps. It’s not diagnosing, dissecting, or curing. It’s about losing yourself in the story, it’s about being free and feeling something in a moment of passion, it’s riding the crest of the wave without thinking—think too much and you’ll fall from the board.
Keep making your path and walk it. Get to the end, even though you know there may be a few holes along the way, even if you know you’ll have to get out the heavy machinery later and fix the path. I don’t know about you, but getting swept away by the creativity is an intuitive act, it’s about ‘how you feel’. Editing becomes ‘what you think’.
If the right-side of the brain is the paint-splattered artist’s studio replete with funky, colourful decor, wine glasses, and stairs that disappear into strange new rooms; the left-side (the analytical side) is a closed, cold operating theatre, it is clinical, full of instruments of surgical precision not inspiration. The first is where we create, the second where we edit.
When you write make sure you stay in the artist’s studio for as long as possible. Even when you’re editing it pays to keep the doors of the studio open and glimpse in now and again for inspiration. Once I start to ‘think’ whether this word or that maybe better, something of life and magic gets lost.
Although I received a good pass mark for my first creative writing assignment recently, one of the most telling comments from my tutor was this:
Your descriptive language was particularly good in your freewrite, as you explored images and concepts in an almost poetic manner. In the actual piece of prose, it became more prosaic at times.
This was because I later spent too much time in the operating room analysing and thinking about what would work, and ironically created something that didn’t. Whereas the freewrite was all done in the studio in a moment of freedom, inspiration, and passion.
My second assignment isn’t due until the new year, but I’ve already started on it. I have to write a short story of 2,200 words. But I already find myself donning the surgical gloves, I’m already circling the plains picking up dead bits here and there. I need to stop doing that. I need to carry on and get to the end. If I write quick enough the surgeon and the vultures can’t keep up.
I’m halfway through and it’s already changed a few times—more than it should have. I quite like it so far, and must resist changing it too much for fear of cutting the wrong parts and making something beautiful ugly before it’s all finished.