The following was originally written on the 43things.com website, under my goal of “Write Every Day”.
Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been on this site… sorry to all the people who’ve cheered me that I’ve ignored.
Anyway, regarding this goal, I have now been doing this for some months – maybe at least 3 months straight. I started by making sure I wrote in my journal at least 4 pages if I didn’t write on my other projects. That led to writing 31K+ words in the past month, on a novel for which I’ve had the idea for years. The original idea came to me in high school, and then about 6 years ago, I got a whole framework for the story. Now, for the past month, I have actually written good portions of it.
It will need a lot of work in the second draft, but I have already reviewed a few chapters, and I feel it has promise. Even if it doesn’t – is unpublishable or something – right now I don’t care because I am having a blast writing it. I’ve long had a sort of love/hate relationship with my writing. I love it, but it also was grueling at times.
This experience, on the other hand, has been pure joy. I think it’s because I really have been able to turn off the “inner critic”, and not worry about if the writing is good or not (until I’m ready to assess all that), but instead just enjoy myself discovering the narrative and the characters as I go. I have never written a novel before, but have read of novelists describing their characters like little autonomous living beings who don’t always do what they want them to do. That is the part that is so interesting for me: I have this general direction I’m going in, but as I write stuff comes out that surprises me. It’s fun, like watching a movie. It’s coming out of my imagination, but it’s deep from my imagination at times, so even “I” don’t know what’s going to happen until it does. Weird!
I guess I’ve experienced this before in other creative works, when I’m in the “trance of writing” as Eric Maisel puts it, BUT I think the phenomena becomes much more pronounced in a longer piece of fiction where the characters have more times to act and develop.
One last observation: I believe the act of writing every day for two months was a direct cause of this creative burst now, even if it was forced, and even if it was just random thoughts in my journal. The act of free writing anything somehow turns on a part of oneself. The “task oriented” me, thinks it doesn’t count if it’s something I’m writing for “my eyes only”, but the creative side counts everything because she knows she works best when she is allowed to come out and play every SINGLE day!