Monday, May 4, 2009

Writing On Your Feet

"The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart." –Julien Green

Art springs from the soul. A painter splashes colors on the canvas while a dancer twirls to an inner beat. A writer must somehow rearrange letters into art without losing the spark igniting the flame within. What's the secret of writing?

You start. You continue. You finish.

"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work." –Pearl S. Buck

Today, I'm living my words. After a week of finishing up edits, writing a dedication, and dreaming up my Pop Culture Divas' post, I sat down to compose my essay with my mind utterly blank. *Knock-Knock* "Hello! Inspiration, where are you?"

Start. Continue. Finish. *wink*

Now, wait a minute, my soul whispers, that hardly seems like a magic formula. I crave inspiration! Where's that brilliant electric spark? A bolt of lightning would be mighty fine right about now. Truth is, an author who only writes when the fever of inspiration is upon her is a rare breed. For the most part, that scenario is backwards. We write to find our inspiration.

Start.

"To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can." — Og Mandino

Write. If you have a glimmer of an idea, explore it while your fingers are dancing on the keyboard. The process of pounding those keys is just like strolling down a lane. Whether your destination is planned is irrelevant; your writing is taking you somewhere and soon you will know.

"A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting." —Carlos Castaneda

It may seem counterintuitive to write without knowing what you're going to say but it's not. Ever observe a comedian at work? Just watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is a revelation. Sure, much of what they say on the air is scripted. However, those precious quips of sidesplitting hilarity often result from a response In the Moment. How do they do it? They talk the way we should write. They've trained themselves to think on their feet. They're not planning the adlib, it just happens. Writers need to train themselves to 'write on their feet'. Let our souls do the talking. *grin*

Continue.

"It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything." –Virginia Woolf

Fabulous, I've started my essay. Yahoo! Except… Whoops. Now what? The dreaded middle has come upon me. What to do? For me, the steps are simple. If I'm feeling stumped, I pause and reread what I wrote. Hey! There's actually an idea there. Where did that come from? Who the heck knows or cares. I'm 'writing on my feet' now and my fingers are tapping away. Uh-huh, I get it now. Keep writing. I've found the spark of my idea. Somehow it slipped in when all I thought I was doing was typing. Yes!

"Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living." –Anais Nin

"Action is the antidote to despair." –Joan Baez

Just seeing what I've already written has perked my spirits up. I'm riding high on the momentum my fingertips have managed to produce. Remember, my friends, We Are Writers. Writers write and it's the process of putting those words on paper—no matter what the content—that helps us build a bridge between wishing for inspiration and finding the magic within our souls.

Finish.

Uh-oh. The pages have flown by, along with a couple of hours. No matter how quickly I think the writing will flow, time has a way of disappearing. For some authors, starting is as scary as leaping off a cliff. For others, the dreaded middle leaves them stumped. Yet there are those of us that feel the greatest pinch when faced with the realization that the book needs to be wrapped up. How to find my way out of the maze to the enchanted land called The End?

Hmm. The answer is whispering already in my heart.

Write.

"Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work." –Rita Mae Brown

Once again, I must trust and 'write on my feet'. After a lifetime of spontaneous communication, the answer is finding its way into my heart. Illumination occurs within a heartbeat. Painters discover their art as their brushes caress the canvas. A musician turns off conscious control and lets the music pour from a hidden place deep within their souls. Writers must do the same. Everyone feels blocked now and again. Everyone trembles with fear, worrying that the brilliance they crave will never appear.

There's a myriad of methods for moving past the fear and getting back into the groove. However, it always comes down to one truth. If you want to have written, you must write. Later, you can revise. Afterwards, you can rearrange those words until they sparkle and shine. For now, You Must Write.

"Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent." –Sophia Loren

"All of us have bad luck and good luck. The man who persists through the bad luck - who keeps right on going - is the man who is there when the good luck comes - and is ready to receive it." –Robert Collier

May arrives along with my favorite season of all—Spring! Time to plant those seeds, literal and figurative, so that our gardens may grow. Summer will soon be here and even with longer days, we'll find the time disappears like snowflakes in the sun. Now's the time to set our inner alarm clocks to remind us to Wake Up And Get Writing! Are you with me?

Write-write-WRITE! Go-go-GO!

What are some of your favorite tips for self-motivation?

Smiles,
Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas!

16 comments:

Kathy said...

So true. I like the quote "I write to know what I think." And blogging gets my writing juices going - it's a great warm-up for the day.

Miss Mae said...

Except now I need a whole new story...where are you, Story????

Celia Yeary said...

CHIRON--excellent, as always. And just in the nick of time.I don't have any particular edits or anything hanging over my head, for once, and it feels good in a way, and yet, it leaves me feeling empty and at loose ends. So--I created a blog. My very own blog. Yea for Celia! This may be insanity, because some days I can't write a decent letter home--does anyone do that anymore? So, what you say today is what I need. Just write. I'm bad about looking too far ahead and thinking, well, in August, what shall I write about? I just finished my first post for my new blog, sort of an introduction, but it turned out very different than I envisioned. This new version--I like. How did I do it? I just---wrote. Thanks, friend--Celia

Misty Evans said...

Hi Chiron. If I need motivation, I know I can find it here with your posts!

I also use music to get my creative juices flowing. No matter the tunes, the melody, rhythm and lyrics will work on both sides of my brain and inspire me.

Sandi S. said...

You're right about writing even if you don't "feel" it. Music is good too. And if I really get into a funk, my critique partner keeps me going. She prods, she encourages, and bullies if the mood calls for it :-) A great support system is vital in this business.

J Hali said...

Chiron,
Another 'excellent' post. Where do you find it all. I especially love the one by Sophia Loren. What motivates me - Soundscapes. The bold yet quiet sounds of nature and instruments together opens my mind to wondrous ideas.

Chiron said...

Hi Kathy!

Very smart. Yes, blogging can be a great way to get going! Some people journal or do the 'three pages' recommended in the artist journal. There's been many a day when I couldn't get my butt in gear, so I pull up my journal or Freewrite document.

It's all writing which keeps those mental muscles in shape. *grin*

Thanks for visiting!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Ah, Miss Mae, I hear you!!

Hope you find that missing story! (I hear the clues are scattered about and all you have do is rearrange them in the proper order. *Grin*)

You'll find the light, you Writer you!!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hey, Celia, good for you!!

I'll pop over there today and check it out. Sounds like you are definitely learning how to "write on your feet."

Congrats on your new blog!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hello Misty!

That's so cool how you utilize music to get those fingers tapping. I love how your heroine in Operation Sheba utilized her trusty iPod in the most dire of circumstances. What a great book!

Thanks for visiting, my dear!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hello Sandi!

You are so write...er... RIGHT! *wink* My crit partners have been with me for years now. I know whether I need a hug, an insight or a jumpstart, they are there for me.

A support system is absolutely necessary. And remembering all writers are working towards the same goal helps us to grow our community.

Thanks for stopping by!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hello there J!

Thanks so much! I love the quotes too...

Wow, I just love how you phrased that: The bold yet quiet sounds of nature and instruments together opens my mind to wondrous ideas.What writer you are!

Thanks so very much for visiting...

Smiles,
Chiron

lienaferror said...

Excellent post, Chiron!

We do need to write even when inspiration is fleeting. If I stopped writting whenever the urge to write left me, I'd never have finished one let alone two stories.

Support helped as well. My old critique partner was excellent when it came to pushing me to finish my story being published. She pushed me, telling me I better finish it or else.

Again, excellent work, Chiron!

Liena~

Sandy said...

Chiron,

I loved the quote from Sophia Loren. That is exactly how I feel. It's not always the ones with the talent who make it.

I'll just keep writing along at my pace, and eventually I'll finish.

Thanks,
Sandy

Chiron said...

Hi Liena!

What would we do without our CP's? I know I'd be lost without mine. They've been with me through it all. I can always count on them for a cyber-hug or an eagle-eye. *grin*

Good for you for finishing two books! And many more to come, I'm sure...

Thanks so much for visiting!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hello Sandy,

You're absolutely right. No matter who the author is, all books are written the same way--One Page At A Time. *wink*

You're doing great!!

Thanks so much for stopping by...

Smiles,
Chiron